The increase in road deaths so far this year is "deeply concerning", Minister of State for Transport Hildegarde Naughton said on Wednesday.
Provisional Garda figures show 50 people have died on Irish roads to date this year, compared with 29 up to the same date last year, an increase of 72 per cent.
An urgent appeal to road users to slow down, wear seatbelts and not to drive when impaired has been issued for the Easter bank holiday weekend by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána.
“We must all take action to reverse this trend by taking greater care when using the road – especially over the high-risk Easter bank holiday period,”Ms Naughton said as the appeal was made on Wednesday.
Sam Waide, chief executive of the RSA, said there had been an "appalling start to the year" on the roads with 50 lives lost.
"An average of 15 people have been killed each month on the road to date this year. If we continue on this path, we could end up losing 180 lives this year. Ireland is in danger of having the highest number of road fatalities in a decade," he said.
The RSA and An Garda Síochána will also be focused on drug-driving. Analysis by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety shows that cannabis and cocaine remain the most detected drugs in drivers on Irish roads.