No fall in North’s road fatalities despite less traffic due to pandemic

Total of 56 people died on Northern Ireland’s roads in 2020, according to PSNI figures

A total of 492 people were seriously injured on the North’s roads in the year until October 31st, a fall compared to 2019 when 652 were seriously injured. File photograph: Getty

A total of 492 people were seriously injured on the North’s roads in the year until October 31st, a fall compared to 2019 when 652 were seriously injured. File photograph: Getty

 

The number of road deaths in the North did not reduce in 2020 despite a decline in traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 56 people died on Northern Ireland’s roads in 2020, according to provisional figures released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on Friday.

The figure was the same as the number of fatalities in 2019 and one more than in 2018.

They included 26 drivers, nine passengers and eight motorcyclists, as well as six pedestrians and four cyclists. Three children under 16 also lost their lives.

Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon said 2020 had been an “unusual year due to the global pandemic” and it is “disheartening that, with less traffic on the roads during the year, the same number of deaths have still occurred compared to 2019”.

The evidence, she said, showed that most road deaths are avoidable, with more than nine out of 10 fatalities due to human error.

According to the PSNI figures, 492 people were seriously injured on the North’s roads in the year until October 31st, a fall compared to 2019 when 652 were seriously injured.

PSNI assistant chief constable Jonathan Roberts said “the sad reality is that there are families and communities that begin the new year as they come to terms with the death of loved ones killed in road traffic collisions during 2020. Many more people are fighting to recover from, or are learning to cope with, life changing injuries.”

The PSNI statistics are based on provisional data, with a final total to be confirmed by the police in spring 2021.