Ireland recorded a welcome 15 per cent drop in road deaths last year - the first decline since 2012.
Provisional end of year road casualty figures for 2015 show there were 158 fatal collisions, which resulted in 165 fatalities on Irish roads. This represents 21 (12 per cent ) fewer fatal collisions, and 28 (15 per cent ) fewer deaths compared to 2014.
The significant decline reverses an upward trend in road deaths in 2013 (188 ) and 2014 (193 ). It is also the second lowest number of road deaths since recording began in 1959. The safest year was in 2012 when 162 lives were lost.
Key findings of review of road fatalities:
· As of the 31 December 2015, 75 drivers, 27 passengers, 32 pedestrians, 22 motorcyclists and nine cyclists were killed on Irish roads.
· There have been 13 fewer vehicle occupant deaths (-11 per cent ) and 15 fewer vulnerable road user deaths (-19 per cent ).
· 129 (78 per cent ) were male and 36 (22 per cent ) were female
· The reduction seen in other road users has been the least for drivers with only a one per cent decline in driver fatalities in 2015 (from 76 to 75 ).
· 20 of the 75 drivers killed (27 per cent ) were not wearing seat belts.
· Younger drivers are the most vulnerable accounting for 25 per cent of all drivers killed in 2015.
· There was a 31 per cent reduction in the number of passengers killed in 2015 (27 ) compared to 2014 (39 ).
· One-third of passengers killed (nine ) were not wearing seat belts
· No seat belt was worn in 29 per cent of driver and passenger deaths
· Pedestrian fatalities fell by 22 per cent to 32 compared to 2014 (41 ).
· There was an eight per cent reduction in the number of motorcyclists killed (22 ) compared to the same period in 2014 (24 ).
· There was a 31 per cent reduction in the number of pedal cyclists killed (9 ) compared to the same period in 2014 (13 ).
· All cyclists killed were aged between 35 and 75 and 44 per cent were aged 60 and over.
· Six fatalities occurred on rural roads
· Two key time periods 10am and 12pm, and 4pm and 6pm, were the most dangerous times on the road.
· There was a significant (80 per cent ) reduction in child fatalities (15 years and younger ) in 2015 (3 ) compared to 2014 (15 ).
· Compared to 2014, there have been more deaths among those aged 16-25 and those aged 56-65.
· The monthly average fatality rate to date in 2015 is 13 (compared to 16 in 2014 ).
· April was the safest month of the year (eight deaths ) July and December with 20 deaths each were the most lethal in 2015.
· Thirty-four deaths per million population were recorded in 2015 compared to 42 per million in 2014. Ireland has set a target of reducing deaths to 25 per million by 2020.
An Garda Síochána spokesperson said it would continue to incorporate road safety as one of its key policing objectives in 2016 to ensure safety for everyone using the roads. An Garda Síochána says it is totally committed to "achieving a continuing reduction in road fatalities, by education, rigid enforcement and working with our external stakeholders".