Ireland continued to improve its road safety performance in 2018 with a 4% drop in road deaths compared to 2017, according to figures published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
149 people lost their lives on Ireland’s roads as a result of 142 fatal crashes in 2018, compared to 156 lives lost in 141 fatal crashes in 2017. This represents 7 fewer fatalities or a 4% drop in deaths.
These figures confirm that 2018 was the safest year on Irish roads since records began in 1959.
Commenting on the country’s road safety performance, Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said; “Although the figures are marginally improved, they are not good enough. Speed continues to kill (130,000 drivers were detected committing speeding offences in 2018). Drink driving persists and unaccompanied learner drivers continue to break the law. Reckless road users cannot be allowed to ruin the lives of innocent others and their families. In 2019 the crusade to improve road safety and save lives will accelerate.”
Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA said, “2018 saw the introduction of very important road safety legislation. If motorists comply with these new provisions it will translate into lives saved and injuries prevented. Garda Roads Policing numbers increased in 2018, and there is a commitment from An Garda Síochána to further increase numbers in 2019 to meet original targets. This will mean that those who don’t comply with these new provisions and other road traffic laws can expect to be detected and face the consequences of their actions.”
Ms. O’Donnell also called for funding to be provided to An Garda Síochána to enable the national roll out of new smartphone and in-vehicle technology, commonly referred to as the Garda Mobility Project, which allows individual gardai check the licence and insurance status of drivers at the roadside. “This technology facilitates the identification of a range of offences at the road side, in particular disqualified drivers, unaccompanied learner drivers and those driving uninsured. The introduction of this mobile technology will revolutionise road traffic policing and needs to be given the highest priority in 2019.”
Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA said “While one death is one too many the reduction in road deaths in 2018 is welcome. However, while deaths did drop, the number of actual fatal collisions was one more than last year. So the real difference between 2018 and 2017 is that in 2018 there were fewer fatal crashes that resulted in multiple fatalities. Of serious concern though is the number of pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2018. There was a 32% increase in pedestrian casualties (41) compared to 2017 (31). Closer examination of 2018 pedestrian casualties reveals that 54% (22) of deaths were of those aged 55 years or older. Pedestrian safety, particularly the safety of older persons, will therefore be a key priority for the RSA in 2019.”
Concluding Ms. Murdock said, “Whilst the behaviour of the majority of road users has changed positively there are still other areas that remain a concern. These include the high failure rate for NCT, the large number of unaccompanied learner drivers taking to our roads, as well as distracted and impaired driving and in particular drug driving. We urge all road users to reflect on their behaviours and their responsibilities as road users.”