Up to the end of December, a total of 158 people lost their lives on Ireland’s roads as a result of 143 fatal crashes, compared to 186 lives lost in 174 fatal crashes in 2016.
The result represents 28 fewer fatalities and 31 fewer fatal crashes as 2017 was also the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959. Previously, 2015 (with 162 deaths) was the safest year on record.
The report also noted that the highest risk age groups throughout 2017 was that of 66-years and older who accounted for 21% and 16-25 who accounted for 18%, which is not much different from 2016.
It can also be seen that March is a particularly dangerous time for road users, while the highest number of fatalities occurred between 12pm and 4pm.
Commenting on the publication of the end of year road safety figures Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism said:
“It is very encouraging to see that we have reversed the upward trend in road deaths witnessed in 2016. The combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and road safety campaigns all played their part in saving lives. But while it is heartening to see that 2017 was the lowest year on record for road deaths, this is not good enough. We need to continue our efforts if we are to achieve the objective of reducing fatalities to 124 by 2020. Ultimately our aim should be zero deaths on our roads.”
Minister Ross noted that greater enforcement had resulted in higher detection figures and welcomed the commitment from An Garda Síochána that the 2017 increase of 10% in the Traffic Corps will be repeated in 2018. Minister Ross added:
“It would also appear indisputable that the bravery of people like Gillian and Ronan Treacy in working with the RSA to show the devastation caused by reckless driving is making a real impact on the public consciousness. I thank them and all the road traffic victims groups who have campaigned so hard and so selflessly to make our roads safer.”
Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA commented on the news:
“While one death is one too many the only way we can measure success or failure in road safety is by recording the number of deaths on our roads. The drop in deaths in 2017 is a very welcome development. Whatever the reason for this decline, the main factor was ultimately as a result of the decision of every road user to change their behaviour for the better. For this I thank you.”
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