Road deaths fall to new low
Three people a week were killed in road accidents in 2012, figures show.
Provisional figures published by the Road Safety Authority reveal 161 people lost their lives on the State's roads last year, 25 fewer than in 2011 and 51 fewer than in 2010.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the figure was a new record low for fatalities.
"The ongoing effort to reduce the tragedy of road deaths is working," he said.
"But this change really comes down to the efforts of every single road user. We can never forget those who lost their lives on the roads in 2012, but next year we can take it a step further."
There has been a 56 per cent decrease in road deaths and a 51 per cent reduction in serious injuries up to the end of 2011 since the third road safety strategy was launched in 2007.
Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne said at the time that one life was being lost on the roads every day, with seven deaths a week.
"Six years later and this has dropped to three lives lost every week," he added.
"So as a result of your actions, the road-using public, you are 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."
Provisional statistics for 2012 revealed 30 per cent of road deaths were people aged under 25, 108 or 67 per cent of victims were male and 41 per cent of road deaths occurred on Saturday and Sunday.
The average monthly fatality rate in 2012 was 13, compared to 16 in 2011 and 18 in 2010.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan thanked all road users who made a conscious and positive change to both their attitudes and behaviour.
"Although we have saved 25 lives compared to 2011, we can all do more to reduce fatalities and serious injuries for 2013 and beyond," he added.
"In 2012 we identified Sunday as being the most dangerous day of the week on our roads, and in particular between 4pm and 6pm.
"To some Sunday is a day of leisure but this fact serves as a reminder to all that collisions can happen to anyone at any time. We all must remember that complacency can cost lives."
Gardaí later revealed the first road fatality of the new year was killed shortly before 9am today. A man aged in his 40s died in hospital after his car crashed into a wall on the Ballybofey to Fintown road (R252) at Dooish, Co Donegal.
A Garda spokesman said the road was closed pending the arrival of forensic collision investigators, with diversions in place.
Gardaí have appealed for witnesses.