Provisional road collision statistics for 2017 published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA ) show that there has been a 15 per cent drop in road deaths in 2017 compared to 2016.
A total of 158 people lost their lives on Ireland’s roads this year as a result of 143 fatal crashes, compared to 186 lives lost in 174 fatal crashes in 2016. 2017 was also be the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959. Previously, 2015 (with 162 deaths ) was the safest year on record.
Westmeath saw only one road crash fatality in 2017, down from four in 2016. Across the border, there were four fatalities in Roscommon, down from seven in 2016.
Nationwide, road fatalities have been on a roughly downward trend since 1978, which was the worst year on record. 640 people were killed on Irish roads that year, all them more shocking given that there were far fewer cars on the road at that time.
Commenting on the figures, Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, said “It is very encouraging to see that we have reversed the upward trend in road deaths witnessed in 2016. The combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and road safety campaigns all played their part in saving lives. But while it is heartening to see that 2017 was the lowest year on record for road deaths, this is not good enough. Ultimately our aim should be zero deaths on our roads.”
Minister Ross noted that greater enforcement had resulted in higher detection figures and welcomed the commitment from An Garda Siochana that the 2017 increase of 10 per cent in the Traffic Corps will be repeated in 2018.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Garda National Roads Policing Unit, said, “I would also like to express my thanks to all the drivers who slowed down, wore their safety belt, put the mobile away and most importantly did not drink or take drugs and drive. All road users played a part in making this the safest year on record.
"An Garda Síochána will continue to target those that put others in danger on the roads, and the additional 150 Traffic Corps members being recruited in 2018 will greatly assist us to target and intercept those that cause risk to you and I on the road.”