Road deaths rise for second year in a row, figures show

Woman (33) becomes first road fatality of 2015 after crash in Co Donegal

Road deaths rose in 2014 to 196 but this was well below the 472 people killed on the roads in 1997

Road deaths rose in 2014 to 196 but this was well below the 472 people killed on the roads in 1997

 

The number of people killed on the State’s roads increased for the second year in a row in 2014 a rise of 6 to 196, end of year statistics show.

The first person to die in 2015 was in Co Donegal. A 33-year-old woman died after she was hit by a van in the early hours of New Year’s Day. She was struck by a van on Main Street in Ballyshannon at about 1.50am. She was pronounced dead at the scene and her body was removed to Shiel Hospital in Ballyshannon.

The man driving the van, who is in his 50s, was uninjured in the incident.

Gardaí have preserved the scene to facilitate forensic collision investigators. The road is closed to traffic and diversions are in place.

Road deaths rose 3 per cent last year and 21 per cent when compared to the 162 road deaths in 2012

Although the number of driver fatalities dropped from 95 to 79, there was a significant increase in the deaths of other vulnerable road users including 42 pedestrians and 12 cyclists.

It is believed that 26 per cent of the 39 passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

Road deaths:1997-2014

A total of 16 children were killed on the roads — eight were pedestrians and eight were passengers.

Speaking following the release of the figures, Liz O’Donnell, chairwoman of the RSA, highlighted the additional road deaths in 2014.

“196 precious lives ended on our roads in 2014. That’s six more than last year. These people are gone forever. For their loved ones they are not consigned to year end statistics.”

“I appeal to all road users in 2015. Even if you change one aspect of your behaviour, be it speeding, not using a mobile phone, always wearing a seatbelt, or just being more careful and courteous to others, you can help make the roads safer for all of us,” said Ms O’Donnell. “Small things can make a huge difference.”

The southern region accounted for the largest proportion of road deaths. Dublin recorded the biggest increase in fatalities (47 per cent) in 2014.

Although still high, there was a drop in the number of motorcyclist deaths from 27 in 2013 to 24 over the past 12 months.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe has said he was concerned so many lives have been lost.

“I would like to make a particular appeal and ask drivers to be more careful and mindful of vulnerable road users,” he said. “In turn I would ask these vulnerable road users to take greater steps to ensure they can be seen when using the road, and appreciate that they too need to follow the rules of the road.”

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said officers will be clamping down on motoring offences during 2015.

“2014 was a tragic year for the families and friends of the 196 people who lost their lives on our roads. An Garda Síochana is fully committed to playing its part in improving road safety, ensuring that the roads in this country are a safe and secure place for all our road users.”

Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information of Thursday morning’s road fatality in Co Donegal to contact Ballyshannon Garda station on 071-9858530 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Additional reporting from PA