Ireland is making progress in road safety. Countless lives have been saved through widespread changes in driver behaviour. Figures show that 165 people lost their lives in 2015, compared to 193 in 2014, the second lowest number of road deaths since records began in 1959.
Despite the good progress, it is hard to say that 2015 was a success for road safety when many lives have been lost. 165 lives were lost on the roads in 2015, each one of them a tragedy. An average of 14 people every month lost their lives on Ireland’s roads in 2015. The statistics show that there were 28 fewer deaths compared to 2014, which has to be welcomed, but 165 deaths is still too much. It is important to note the progress made, but it is more important to remain vigilant for the coming year.
Brian O’Donnell. Road Safety Officer stated, “The most frightening figure is that of the drivers killed, 20 were not wearing a seatbelt and 9 passengers killed had not got their seatbelt on. A large number, despite the horrific consequences are still ignoring the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. It seems incredible that after years of public education, including the use of graphic television advertisements that people will still travel in a car and not put on their seatbelt. If we can learn from these tragic figures and every safety measure is taken when using the road including slow down, wear your seatbelt, never use a mobile phone while driving, never drink and drive and by wearing high visibility clothing, road fatalities will fall.”
RSA Chief Executive, Ms. Moyagh Murdock said that, “2016 will be a challenging year. It is vital that we build on the success of 2015 and not regress as we did in 2013 and 2014. We have already held detailed meetings with our colleagues in An Garda Síochána to ensure our education and awareness plans for 2016 are closely aligned with their policing efforts. The focus for the RSA will be on the challenges posed by Driver Distraction, in particular mobile phone use while driving, the dangers of low level speeding and the consequences of this behaviour for vulnerable road users. We will also raise awareness of the new enforcement intervention to be introduced to tackle drug driving.
In addition to these priorities, we need to go back to basics and revisit some old chestnuts that have worryingly resurfaced as significant pre-crash factors in collisions, namely drink driving and non-seatbelt wearing.” It should never be forgotten that behind every figure and statistic are real tragedies and real victims with real lives lost. Road safety is not an issue for the authorities alone.
Each one of us who use our roads can make a difference and should take a moment to reflect on how we use the roads and whether or not we could improve our driving and ensure that we do not become another bleak statistic — or the cause of one. Every road user should ensure to do all they can to keep the graph moving in the right direction so that 2016 will be a safer year on the road for everyone.