Almost 150 people killed on State’s roads during 2019

Minister calls on road users to take ‘greater responsibility for actions when using roads’

Liz O’Donnell, chairwoman of the RSA, said it is “deeply saddening” that road deaths had risen in 2019. File photograph: Getty

Liz O’Donnell, chairwoman of the RSA, said it is “deeply saddening” that road deaths had risen in 2019. File photograph: Getty

 

Almost 150 people died on the State’s roads in 2019, according to provisional figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The 148 road fatalities is a 4 per cent increase on the 142 deaths in 2018, which was the lowest number since records began in 1959.

Drivers comprised the highest number of road users who died last year, with 81 motorist deaths up until lunch time on December 31st, a 45 per cent increase on the 2018 figure.

The data also show that 27 pedestrians, 16 passengers and 16 motorcyclists died on Irish roads.

There were also eight pedal cyclists who died in 2019, down one from the nine cyclist deaths in the previous year.

The number of collisions also increased this year, with 137 collisions on Irish roads in 2019, compared with 135 in 2018.

The number of road deaths in the Republic has been consistently under 200 since 2010, though there have been a few fluctuations in recent years.

Fatalities fell to 163 in 2012 and then increased again in 2013 and 2014 to 190 and 193 respectively before dropping back to 162 in 2015, which was followed in 2016 by an increase to 187.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross expressed his condolences to the families and friends of those who had lost their lives in road fatalities in 2019.

“The only way to respond to these needless deaths and injuries on our roads is through action, not words. While families and friends grieve the loss of their loved one, we must as a society all respond with deeds to prevent it happening to others,” he said.

The Minister called on ordinary road users to take “greater responsibility for our actions when using the road”.

“We can do this by slowing down, not driving while impaired through drink, drugs or fatigue, by not driving while using a phone, by wearing a seatbelt and always sharing the road more carefully with pedestrians and cyclists,” he added.

Liz O’Donnell, chairwoman of the RSA, said it is “deeply saddening” that road deaths had risen in 2019.

‘Renewed effort’

“We must respond to this increase the same way we have responded to previous setbacks. Rather than being disheartened, it should spur us and our road safety partners into renewed effort,” she said.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Dave Sheahan said road policing will remain a “strategic priority” for gardaí this year, and two “significant developments” will happen to ensure road safety enforcement is achieved.

“Firstly, an additional 180 gardaí have been selected to be assigned to roads policing duties in early 2020. Secondly, the rollout of the new mobility app will be stepped up so that by the end of 2020 there will be in excess of 4,000 devices in the hands of front-line gardaí,” Mr Sheahan said.

“The new mobility app will revolutionise the way roads policing is carried out in this country.”