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Campaigners' concern Fears as road traffic deaths in Ireland on course for 10pc rise in 2020

Fatalities rise despite two Covid-19 lockdowns


A total of 136 people have died on Irish roads so far this year

A total of 136 people have died on Irish roads so far this year

A total of 136 people have died on Irish roads so far this year

Road safety campaigners fear that Ireland will record a significant increase in overall traffic fatalities this year with deaths now almost 10pc above 2019 levels.

A total of 136 people have died on Irish roads so far this year – just five fewer than the total number of fatalities (141) recorded throughout 2019 in accidents on public roads.

The 136 deaths to December 6 are almost 10pc higher than for the same period last year when 125 fatalities were recorded.

December traditionally ranks as one of the most dangerous months of the year for fatal accidents due to inclement weather and increased
numbers travelling on Irish roads.

Both gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are alarmed at the surge in fatalities because traffic volumes were slashed by 70pc for almost three months this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Traffic volumes were also dramatically reduced by the second Level 5 lockdown in October-November.

Despite this, road traffic deaths remain stubbornly above 2019 levels.

Last year, recorded a slight hike in traffic fatalities compared to 2018 when the number of people who died on Irish roads, at 140, was the lowest since records began in the 1950s.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman – who is charged with roads policing – has repeatedly urged motorists to heed the current safety advice. “Any road death is one too many and we will continue to work together with our partners in road safety to reduce road deaths,” she said.

Gardaí and the RSA are to launch a national road safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of serious collisions on Irish roads over Christmas and the New Year.

The 136 people who died so far this year were comprised pedestrians (29), drivers (55), passengers (24), motorcyclists (17) and pedal cyclists (11) – with the number of cyclist, pedestrian and biker deaths partly attributed to the increased numbers of people using roads during the pandemic lockdown.

Despite the rise in traffic fatalities in 2019 and now 2020, the relative number of deaths on Irish roads is roughly 30pc lower compared to less than a decade ago.

Ireland is now ranked as the second best country within the EU for road safety levels – and one of the safest countries worldwide for road use.

The 141 people who died on Irish roads last year contrasts sharply with the shocking total of 640 deaths recorded in 1972, the worst year since modern road safety records began in the 1950s.

The decline in road deaths over the past 20 years has been credited to enhanced roads policing by the gardaí, tougher drink driving regimes, stiffer court penalties for road traffic breaches, better public awareness of road safety issues, improved safety devices on vehicles and improvements to the road network.

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Online Editors