Provisional road casualty figures for 2012 show a total of 161 people tragically lost their lives on Irish roads in 2012.
This is 25 fewer fatalities compared with 186 deaths last year and 51 fewer deaths compared with 2010 when 212 people lost their lives on the roads, representing a drop of approximately 13 per cent year on year.
Road deaths have now fallen every year since 2006. Furthermore it is also the fifth year in a row that a new record low for fatalities in this country has been achieved.
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 year 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 per cent decrease in road deaths. While the total number of serious injuries sustained in crashes in 2012 is not yet available, there has been a 51 per cent reduction in these injuries up to the end of 2011.
Commenting on the release of the provisional figures Gay Byrne, chairman of the Road Safety Authority, 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.”
Mr Byrne said the road-using public was 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.”
Key elements of the new road safety strategy will focus on serious injury reduction, tackling repeat road traffic offenders, and developing more forgiving roads.
RSA chief executive Noel Brett said 2013 would be another challenging year.
In addition to a new road safety strategy, a new plastic card driving licence will be introduced, the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing system will be changed, and Ireland, with the presidency of the European Union, will host a major EU conference on road safety in March 2013.
Some of the key provisional statistics for 2012 include:
- Thirty per cent of road deaths were under 25 years of age.
- Forty-one per cent of road deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday.
- The hours between 4pm and 6pm were the most dangerous, with 31 deaths (19 per cent ).
- 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 eight deaths occurred.
- One hundred and eight or 67 per cent of those killed on the roads were male.