63 dead, 488 trapped in cars: Grim statistics show the need for safer driving
Northern Ireland's roads have claimed 63 lives this year, according to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.
This means 14,767 people have been killed on the roads since deaths were first recorded in 1931, while 76,976 have been seriously injured since 1971.
The minister said that was 63 families and communities whose lives have been utterly and irreversibly devastated.
He was launching Road Safety Week at RADAR, Northern Ireland's first fully interactive safety and life skills education centre.
So far this year firefighters have attended 629 collisions and rescued 488 people trapped in vehicles.
"This week is Road Safety Week, but every week should be road safety week for all of us," Mr Durkan said.
"Road safety is an all-year round challenge for every single road user. It is a continuous challenge and road deaths do not discriminate. All road users are vulnerable during every journey.
"We must also remember that the majority of deaths are due to something that we as individuals all have the power to control by eliminating high risk behaviours."
At the launch event there were workshops for young drivers and a demonstration of what happens when the emergency services attend the scene of a crash.
Alan Walmsley, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service's Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: "Firefighters attend road traffic collisions every day and so far in 2015 we have attended 629 and have rescued 488 people trapped in vehicles, many of whom are left with life-changing injuries.
"Tragically, there are far too many people whom we cannot rescue and the impact of their loss is felt every day by the families left behind.
"We all need to think road safety every time we get behind the wheel, not just during Road Safety Week, but every single day.
"We're bringing our hard-hitting road traffic collision rescue demonstrations to towns across Northern Ireland to show young people just how quickly lives can be destroyed by irresponsible driving."
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd added: "When you consider that many, if not the majority of deaths and serious injuries caused by collisions could have been avoided, it's an appalling waste of life."