Hard-hitting DoE road safety campaigns have been credited with reducing road deaths in Northern Ireland to their lowest level since records began in 1931.
In the last financial year, 52 people died on the roads and 806 were seriously injured, according to the PSNI’s Statistical Report for April 2011 to March 2012, released yesterday.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood said those who had related their personal stories in ‘Crashed Lives’, the latest road safety campaign, had struck a deep chord with people.
“I acknowledge the news that road deaths have fallen to their lowest level since records began. More people are alive than would have been the case if there was still the rate of road casualties of just a few years ago,” he said.
“We have moved forward in the last year and I commend those working so hard to bring about these improvements. I think particularly about the people who allowed their personal stories to be included in my department’s Crashed Lives campaign which launched at the start of the year and has struck such a deep chord.
“The figures do show that 52 people died and 806 were seriously injured ... I am determined that there will be no let-up and we will keep focusing on driving those figures down.”
The minister revealed that he will be launching a new advertisement campaign later this month, and that new legislation to tackle drink-driving is also currently in the offing.
He said: “On May 23 I will be launching a new campaign aimed at improving pedestrian safety by addressing both driver and pedestrian responsibility. I will shortly consult on legislation to tackle drink-driving, including reducing the limit.
“When that Bill is introduced to the Assembly before the end of the year, it will also include legislation that will introduce in the North of Ireland the most radical advance in driver training and improvements in new driver safety anywhere on these islands.
“I spoke earlier this week about plans for drug-driving legislation, along with which in 2014 I hope to have mutual recognition of penalty points on the island of Ireland.
“I realise that these are challenging measures to be delivered in challenging timescales, but they are important and I believe they will ultimately contribute to further reductions in road traffic fatalities and serious injuries.”
Earlier this year, a shocking series of DoE adverts featured moving testimonies of how accidents on Northern Ireland’s roads have devastated lives.
In emotive first-person interviews, Melvyn Bussell and Melissa Devine revealed how they had sustained life-changing injuries in collisions. Meanwhile, the stories of Martin Gallagher and Shannan McCracken were told by their bereaved parents.