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Eight road deaths in four days: Are garda numbers and the housing crisis making things worse?

The Road Safety Authority is worried about an increasing trend.

Garda diversion after road crash in Laois. (File photo)
Garda diversion after road crash in Laois. (File photo)
Image: Eamonn Farrell

THE ROAD SAFETY Authority has put the focus on garda numbers after an eighth road death in four days has seen the death toll on Irish roads spiral way beyond last year.

So far this year, 157 people have died on the roads in the Republic of Ireland, that’s 31 more than at this point last year.

Although 162 people died over the 12 month period in 2015, last year was “probably the safest year on record”, according to Moya Murdoch of the RSA.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Murdoch said that the sharp increase this year means that it’s time to “take stock” of what’s happening on the roads.

“Ireland is outstanding in terms of road safety about personal responsibility and behaviour on the road, but perceptions about being stopped for speeding or being stopped for alcohol is much lower than our counterparts in Europe,” she said.

Clearly, while personal responsibility is the number one priority, if there isn’t adequate enforcement out there enforcing road safety then we will have upturns.

“One of the concerns the RSA has is the reduction in garda numbers. And we have to deal with that as well because if they’re not there people will take chances,” she says.

Murdoch added that, while increased economic activity means busier roads, the housing crisis also plays a role.

“We are also seeing people struggling to get affordable accommodation near their places of work, near colleges,” she said.

So we are probably seeing a lot more young people driving than we did during the past few years with austerity, because they could live near their work. And young drivers by their nature are riskier.

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Murdoch’s comments come as another tragedy in north county Dublin last night left 20-year-old Jane Dardis dead after a single vehicle crash.

The young woman was a front seat passenger in a car when it crashed into a wall on the Loughshinny Road near her home in Skerries.

Read: Woman in her 20s dies after car hits wall in Dublin >

Read: ‘Preventable’ death of young student by hit-and-run driver was ‘due to multiple garda failings’ >

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Rónán Duffy

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