An Garda Síochána and The Road Safety Authority (RSA) have published a provisional review of what they claim is “progress” in road safety up to July 28, 2019. The review shows that from January 1 to July 28 inclusive, 89 people died on Irish roads in 80 collisions. This represents three per cent more collisions and seven per cent more deaths compared to provisional Garda data for the same period in 2018.
The review shows that road deaths have increased by six when compared to figures for the same period last year. Up to and including July 28 this year, 49 drivers, 10 passengers, 15 pedestrians, nine motorcyclists and six pedal cyclists have been killed on Irish roads.
The review adds that January and February were the worst months for road fatalities with 16 deaths in each month, while 70 fatalities (79 per cent) occurred on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or higher.
As of today, August 2, 90 people have been killed on Irish roads compared to the 84 people killed by the same period last year. That’s a 6.7 per cent increase year to date.
Commenting on the review, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D, said: “In June, Ireland was awarded the European Transport Safety Council Road Safety Pin Award in recognition of the efforts by many in this country in helping to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads. It is heartening to see that Ireland has now been recognised as the second safest European Union Member State in 2018, demonstrating the significant progress made to date. It is clear that Government policy and investment has been effective in this area but I also want to pay tribute to the public for their ongoing commitment to road safety.”
Minister Ross continued: “However as we can see from the review, the progress we have made over many years is not guaranteed. We need to be constantly vigilant and continue to focus on reducing risky behaviours on our roads. Without the work of many stakeholders, we will see a reversal of our positive trajectory and we cannot allow that to happen.”
A seven per cent increase in road deaths as of July 28 makes it hard to agree that “significant progress” has been made on Irish roads and this increase now makes Ireland’s recent road safety accolades feel somewhat hollow.
Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, An Garda Síochána added: “The Garda enforcement strategy in 2019 has clearly focused on the key Lifesaver Offences and to that end speeding intercept detections are up 48 per cent, non-wearing of seatbelts up 27 per cent, driver distraction offences (mobile phones) up 11 per cent and Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant up eight per cent. While Garda enforcement is up, the figures being presented today demonstrate that driver behaviour has still some way to go for Ireland to achieve its objectives.”