Number of deaths on State’s roads is worsening, says RSA chief

An average of 15 deaths per month in 2023 has risen to 19 per month so far this year, says the RSA

The number of people killed on the State’s roads is worsening – from an average of 15 deaths per month in 2023 to 19 per month in the early part of this year – the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Sam Waide has said.

Addressing the Oireachtas committee on transport on Wednesday, Mr Waide said last year saw a significant increase in road deaths, to a total of 185 for the full year.

Mr Waide said a significant worry among the statistics for last year was the numbers of young people being killed or seriously injured on the State’s roads.

“During 2023 there were higher numbers of young lives lost than any of the past five years”, he said.


“Tragically, we lost 12 children under the age of 16, and 48 teenagers and young adults aged 16-25 years died on our roads” in 2023.

Mr Waide also revealed:

  • 47 per cent of road deaths occurred late at night/in the early hours of the morning.
  • 48 per cent occurred during the weekend.
  • Rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or more accounted for almost seven in 10 of all deaths in 2023.

“Unfortunately, similar patterns in road user deaths in 2023 have continued into 2024″ he said. Citing provisional figures for the crashes from January 1st to April 21st he said 64 deaths have occurred on our roads this year to date, which is 14 more deaths compared to the same period in 2023.

Mr Waide said it was important to recognise more than 300 people have been seriously injured in road traffic collisions so far in 2024.

He said data showed 25 per cent of fatalities occurred between 4pm and 8pm, whilst 36 per cent occurred late at night or in the early morning.

“Research carried out by the RSA suggests that these periods present greater risks in terms of driver behaviours like drink driving, taking drugs & driving and fatigue” he said. He described the activities as “killer behaviours” he said.

Recent RSA figures also showed 23 per cent of those killed on the roads had not been wearing a seat belt.

Mr Waide said the RSA’s communications focus for 2024 targets speed, distracted driving, drink driving and vulnerable road users such as cyclists, older pedestrians and e-scooters.

The authority has a number of advertising and awareness campaigns under way and will also hold its first Youth Representative Forum on April 29th. It will also launch a new campaign on e-scooter safety in May. An updated transition year programme for schools will be rolled out from September, Mr Waide said.

Waiting times for the National Car Test (NCT) have reduced to 15 days, three in advance of the target of 12 days. The number of learner drivers who are waiting for an invitation to book their driving test is 60,385, down from 71,932 in September 2023.

Committee Leas-Chathaoirleach Senator Gerry Horkan asked Mr Waide what were the most useful things the committee could do, to help reduce the risks of death and injury on the roads.

Mr Waide asked the committee to involve their communities and employers in those communities in road safety awareness. He also asked that they support any legislation coming forward “to optimise the use of technology to combat killer behaviours” by drivers. He further asked the committee to help promote education and enforcement of issues like speeding, wearing of seat belts, the use of alcohol and drugs and drivers engaging is “distracted behaviour”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist