NI road deaths at record low level
The number of deaths on Northern Ireland’s roads last year fell to their lowest level since records began.
The 48 fatalities last year is less than 20 per cent of the peak total of 372 deaths 40 years ago.
The trend has been steadily downward in the last four decades, with the annual total dropping below 100 for the first time in 2010.
In 1931, the first year statistics were recorded, 114 people died in road crashes.
In the last 80 years, 14,570 people have lost their lives, with around 75,000 suffering serious injury.
Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the ultimate goal should be zero deaths.
“2012 has been an important milestone for road safety in Northern Ireland, but there are still 48 families who have lost a family member over the last 52 weeks,” he said.
“I extend sympathy to those families and friends who lost loved ones through road tragedy.”
Mr Attwood said the main causes of collisions continue to be speeding, drink driving and driver, rider and pedestrian carelessness.
The figure show that five children died on the roads in 2012, up from two a year earlier. There were also more male than female fatalities.
Mr Attwood attributed the decrease in overall deaths to more responsible driving, the life-saving work of doctors and emergency services, better roads and stronger awareness campaigns.
“The next horizon is moving towards a vision of zero fatalities,” he said.
“This is some time off — but if we can move from hundreds to dozens of deaths a year, can we not move further?”
Provisional figures published by the Road Safety Authority reveal the number of people killed on the Republic's roads fell to161 last year, also a record low.