Donegal near top of national fatality rates for road deaths

Higher than average rate, with speeding drivers a particular problem in the county

Donegal is consistently found to have one of the highest road fatality rates in the country, and road deaths are still above average, according to latest figures.

The last comprehensive study into the subject by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), in 2013, revealed that Donegal had the third-highest fatality rate of any county. Donegal's rate of 81 deaths per million population was twice the national average of 41 deaths.

The research also found that while there had been a 41 per cent reduction in road deaths in Donegal between 2007, when 22 people died, and 2013, when 13 were killed, it still lagged behind the national decrease of 44 per cent.

Speed

Speeding drivers are cited as a particular problem in the county, with excessive speed having been deemed to be a factor in 8.4 per cent of all collisions between 2008 and 2012 – a higher proportion than anywhere else in the country.

The RSA report concluded that most speed-related crashes in the county occurred on regional roads in 80km/h speed zones or national roads such as the N13, where two young men died when the car they were travelling in collided with a van on Wednesday.

The last two years have seen a continuation in the trend of Donegal having a higher than average death rate.

Against a national road fatality rate of 42 per million population in 2014, Donegal had a rate of 56, and its rate of 68 in 2015 was almost twice the national rate of 36 for that year.

There was just one death in the county in the first half of this year.

Tragic

RSA spokesman Brian Farrell said that while the events of recent days had been tragic, significant attention should be focused on Cork, which has seen a spike in road deaths so far this year.

“The real focus of attention needs to be on Cork – they’ve had 18 fatalities so far this year compared to 10 to the same period last year.

“It’s almost double what the fatality rate is in any other county in the country,” he said. “There is a serious problem in Cork and it needs to be addressed.”

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