The 2017 Road Safety Performance Index by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC ) shows that Ireland has moved up from fifth to fourth place in the EU Member State rankings for road safety.
Ireland had the fourth largest decline in road deaths amongst the EU28 countries between 2016 and 2017 - a total of 157 people lost their lives on Ireland’s roads in 2017 compared to 186 in 2016.
In 2017, there was a decline in road deaths across all road user groups in Ireland, except pedal cyclists, when compared to 2016. In 2016, Ireland ranked 5th amongst EU countries in terms of road safety. Deaths on Irish roads have decreased by 26% since 2010.
The ETSC report cites improved legislation, such as new drug driving laws, greater traffic law enforcement activities and road safety campaigns as having played a part in reducing the number of deaths on Irish roads.
Ms Moyagh Murdock, CEO, RSA, said, ‘the progress we made in 2017 which saw a reduction in both fatalities and serious injuries on our roads is to be welcomed however, as we have seen in recent weeks, this is a gain that is too easily lost. The vast majority of road users are heeding the safety messages and using our roads in a responsible way, however a small number continue to defy road safety laws and the results are devastating.
Ireland is still a long way off achieving its road safety targets as set out in the Government Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020. The Strategy has set the task of making Ireland’s roads as safe as the best performing countries in the European Union, specifically to reduce road deaths on Irish roads to 124 or fewer by 2020. This means there must be a further 22 percent reduction in road deaths on 2017 numbers over the next three years. I would like to acknowledge the support of our stakeholders in achieving the reduction last year and would ask for their continued support in reaching the 2020 target.’
Mr. Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said, ‘as Minister for Transport I am committed to instigating legislation and regulations that will make Ireland’s roads safer. Recent initiatives and legislation have been key to reducing death and serious injuries on our roads. The Bill I am currently taking through the Oireachtas will build on these safety initiatives by ensuring that every person caught driving above the current alcohol limit will receive a disqualification.
However, this Bill is being seriously jeopardised by a very small cohort of politicians who are engaged in the most cynical form of filibustering. This is despite it receiving the full support of Government, most opposition parties, road safety advocates and the general public. Meanwhile people are dying on our roads. I appeal to their humanity if not their political solidarity and ask them to please desist and allow this Bill to pass.’