Rise in road deaths prompts appeals


THE GARDA and the Road Safety Authority are to renew their appeals to motorists to slow down following a reversal of the downward trend in fatal crashes and injuries on the roads.

A 15-year-old boy died yesterday afternoon after being struck by a car on the M2 near Ashbourne.

On Friday two men were killed in Co Longford when the vehicle in which they were travelling went out of control. On Saturday, 51 elderly people were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital following a collision between a bus and a car.

Part of the N11 in Co Wicklow was closed for a time yesterday after an incident just north of Glen of the Downs, when the driver of a car, a man in his mid-20s, was seriously injured and taken to St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin.

Last week Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar appealed to students finishing their exams, as well as their parents, to take additional care on the roads.

This month’s deaths have reversed the downward trend in road deaths, with fatalities up to yesterday running at nine ahead of the same time last year.

Some 91 people were killed on the roads from the start of the year until yesterday morning, with more fatalities in April and May than in the corresponding period last year.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We sincerely hope it is a trend that is not going to continue.”

The spokesman said it may be too early to draw conclusions but the number of fatal crashes was extremely disappointing.

“We all need to be constantly vigilant about road safety. We can never ease off. There is never going to be a time when we can relax and say ‘job done’,” he added.

The authority is also concerned that the number of those killed has risen in advance of July, usually a peak point of the year for road fatalities and serious injuries.

Gardaí have also expressed concern and are expected to launch a renewed appeal early next month, aimed at convincing drivers to reduce their speed.

They are also planning to target tourists next month, reminding them to be vigilant about driving on the left hand side of the road.

Information leaflets will be given out in car-hire companies and airlines and ferry companies are being asked to remind passengers of the road safety message.

Last year 186 people died on the Republic’s roads, the lowest number since records began.