While deaths due to road traffic accidents were at an all time low in 2012, seven more people have died on the roads in Ireland this year than during the same period last year, according to figures released by An Garda Síochána this week. That brings the total for 2013 to 118 deaths.
In Mayo the statistics are also going in the wrong direction with six deaths in the county so far this year in comparison to five during the same period in 2012.
The Garda has said that while the number of deaths is a lot lower than in the past, some drivers are still getting behind the wheel while under the influence of an intoxicant, while fatigued, or are driving at excessive or inappropriate speeds.
Gardaí are finding that drivers (or their passengers ) are still failing to wear seatbelts, or continue to hold a mobile phone while driving. “These examples of high risk behaviour continue to be major contributory factors to road deaths,” a garda spokesperson has said.
Sixty one drivers have lost their lives on the roads, the largest of any road user category. Thirteen of those drivers were between the ages of 21 and 25, the highest of any driver age group. Friday continues to carry the highest risk on the road of any day of the week, accounting for one in five of all fatal road traffic collisions. The time period 2pm - 6pm every day is the time with the highest risk on the road. Thirty seven people have lost their lives in fatal road traffic collisions which occurred during this time period.
Of particular concern to An Garda Síochána is the number of motorcycle fatalities that have occurred to date in 2013. Seventeen riders have already lost their lives on Irish roads compared to 16 in total for 2012. With this in mind An Garda Síochána is appealing to every road user to take maximum care not only for their safety, but for the safety of every other person who shares the road with them.
Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan said this week: “Seven more people have lost their lives compared to this date last year. Motorcycle fatalities in particular are already in excess of the total for 2012. There is no doubt that excessive or inappropriate speed plays a significant factor in collisions, and in particular what happens to those involved. We know from our analysis that four out of five fatal road traffic collisions are occurring on roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or more. Reducing your speed, and ensuring you and all your passengers wear a seatbelt, could be the difference between life and death.”
Chief Superintendent O’Sullivan continued: “This is not a driver or rider issue alone. We are all road users, and we all need to always take personal responsibility for everything we do on the roads. If we fail to work together and reverse the increase in fatalities showing to date in 2013, we could ultimately be facing an increase in road fatalities for the first time in eight years. Every road fatality brings devastation and heartbreak to the families and friends of those involved.”