Road Safety professionals are warning road users that July is the most lethal month of the year in which to use Ireland's roads.
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer, said: "My heart goes out to all those touched by the fatalities and injuries over the past six months and we in no way want to diminish their pain, but we are seeing a trend. The seasonal increase in fatalities during the month of July is a clear warning to us all that we cannot afford to be complacent. So I would appeal to all road users to take personal responsibility for their actions and to make this July the safest one yet. The holiday season brings a lot of people on to unfamiliar roads, and motorists should take extra caution and adapt their driving style according to the road and weather conditions. I appeal to community alert committees to raise the danger of using the rural roads at this time of year with their members."
Using data provided by the RSA set from the past three years reveals three consistent fatality trends. July is the most dangerous month, followed by December and January. Each week, Sunday witnesses the highest number of road fatalities, double that of Wednesday. Dissecting road fatalities down to an hourly basis reveals that road fatalities tend to peak at rush hour, 6pm to 8pm. So, there you have it, Sundays in July between 6pm and 8pm on are the most dangerous time to travel on Irish roads.
Noel Gibbons said: "It is predominately young men who are killed on the roads. Women are ultimately safer and very few of the women who were killed were driving at the time. Predominately, the women who were killed were either passengers or pedestrians."
Garda Inspector Joe McKeanna, Castlebar, said: “I have seen too many horrific injuries caused by people making a mistake at the wheel. Please follow the rules of the road and live to enjoy your life."
So why is July so deadly? Some of the reasons are increased holiday and tourist traffic, fine weather leads to increased speeds, the danger of sun glare caused by low sun, more motorcyclists on the road in fine weather, young and inexperienced drivers, increased number of sporting events, more people using rural roads - fatalities on rural roads can be seen as the culmination of all of the above. Between 2007-2009, 71% of Ireland’s road death occurred on rural roads.