Road fatalities in Ireland in 2012 fell to the lowest level since records first began according to the Road Safety Authority’s provisional Road Casualty figures which were released on New Year’s Day.
For the fifth year in a row, a new record low was registered in the amount of people killed on Irish roads as 161 people tragically lost their lives in 2012, 25 fewer fatalities compared to 186 deaths in 2011 and 51 fewer deaths compared to 2010 when 212 people lost their lives on the roads.
Minister for Transport Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar said “For the seventh year in a row the number of people killed on the roads has dropped. In 2012 the loss of life was the lowest ever recorded. The ongoing effort to reduce the tragedy of road deaths is working.
“But this change really comes down to the efforts of every single road user. We can never forget those who lost their lives on the roads in 2012, but next year we can take it a step further. I urge everyone to change one thing about their behaviour on the roads next year. It will make a difference.”
Commenting on the release of the provisional figures, RSA Chairman Gay Byrne said “At the end of 2006 the year before the third Road Safety Strategy was launched, we were losing a life on the road every single day. Six years later and this has dropped to three lives lost every week. So as a result of your actions, the road using public, you are preventing four deaths every week now compared to 2006.
“While one death is one too many, this is an extraordinary achievement and something of which you should all be very proud. The challenge now is to build on this success. We have three more lives a week to save. We know we can do better because countries like Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands have done it.
“The task begins with the development and publication of the new Road Safety Strategy, which will cover the period 2013 to 2020. Key elements of this new strategy will focus on serious injury reduction, tackling repeat road traffic offenders and developing more forgiving roads. While government agencies will work tirelessly to implement this new strategy, ultimately if we want safer roads only you can get us there.”
The third Road Safety Strategy 2007 to 2012, which will be replaced in early 2013 with a new eight year strategy, set a target of reducing road deaths to no more than 252 deaths per annum by the end of 2012. Not only was this target achieved ahead of schedule in 2009, it was significantly surpassed. Since the beginning of 2007 there has been a 56% decrease in road deaths.
RSA Chief Executive Noel Brett paid tribute to the work of the Gardai and Emergency Services, “It is important, as we come to the end of another year, that we acknowledge and thank those on the front line in road safety.
“The Gardai, Ambulance and Paramedic crews, Fire Brigade personnel, Nurses, Doctors and Carers who are responsible for ensuring we stay safe on the roads and for caring for those who have been affected by road trauma”.
Some of the key provisional statistics for 2012 include that 30% of road deaths were under 25 years of age; 41% of road deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday; the hours between 4pm and 6pm were the most dangerous, with 31 deaths (19%); the average monthly fatality rate in 2012 was 13 compared to 16 in 2011 and 18 in 2010; the safest month of the year was November when 8 deaths occurred.; 108 or 67% of those killed on the roads were male.