Rise in fatal road collisions


The increasing number of fatal road collisions was “very, very concerning,” and it appeared drivers were “letting their guard down” the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority has said.

Noel Brett, speaking at the publication of four new Learning to Drive manuals, said that while the number of fatalities on the roads this year (75) was almost identical to this time last year (76), the number of actual collisions was up.

There had been 75 deaths in 73 collisions so far this year, compared with 76 deaths and 68 collisions in the same period last year.

“It is very concerning and it does appear perhaps that people may be, in some cases, becoming complacent,” he said. “Last bank-holiday weekend, when six people were killed on the roads, was particularly horrendous.”

The biggest causes of crashes and fatalities remained, he said, speed, inattention and not wearing safety-belts. In all road accidents, if the vehicle-occupants had been wearing seat-belts their outcome would invariably have been improved.

He said the figures further underlined the importance of thoroughly learning, for life, how to drive safely and well.

While in the past, passing the driving test entailed learning the mechanics of how to drive and the rules of the road, there was now a more structured approach.

“Now a candidate must pass the theory test and then have a minimum of 12 hours of lessons with a recognised instructor, and log at least 36 hours of practise with a supervisor,” said Mr Brett.

The four new Learning To Drive manuals will feed into this process providing study materials for those about to start lessons.

They will be available in book shops at €8.99, and to borrow from libraries, and are aimed at different categories of learner drivers - car, bus, truck or motor-cycle drivers.