Three more lives have been lost in another day of carnage on Northern Ireland’s roads.
The victims — two men and women — died overnight in three separate road accidents in Co Londonderry and Co Down.
One man in his late 20s died in a one-vehicle collision in Coleraine, while a 20-year-old man was killed in Newtownards. Two other men were injured in the second collision, one of whom was trapped and cut free by fire crews.
It is understood that a third collision between a lorry and a car this morning claimed the life of a woman at Mather’s Cross on the main road between Coleraine and Portrush.
It came as the DOE launched a new road safety campaign urging motorists to take care and use their seatbelts properly.
The Coleraine man has been named locally as Stephen Dooey (29), from Harpur’s Hill in the town. It is believed that the BMW he was driving crossed the ring road near the junction with Ballycastle Road and hit a tree around midnight.
Considerable damage was caused to the car and Mr Dooey was dead when he arrived at hospital.
Coleraine Station Commander Mark Deeney of Northern Fire and Rescue Service said: “There was a road traffic collision involving one car with one male occupant. The car collided with a tree and there was a male fatality at the scene. He was trapped in the car.
“A search was carried out to make sure there were no other casualties and we then removed him with heavy cutting equipment.”
Local MLA John Dallat said: “It’s not just another statistic – it’s a tragedy for the family.
Considerable damage was caused to the car and the victim was dead on arrival at hospital.
Coleraine mayor Councillor David Barbour said one death on the roads was one too many.
“I do notice as I drive that people are sometimes overconfident — I think we’re all guilty of driving a little bit too fast,” he said.
“We should all consider the life that has been lost on the roads and realise it could happen to ourselves.
“We don’t realise sometimes the speeds we are doing. Our roads are only built for certain speeds and that is something we all should remember.”
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man was killed in a traffic accident in Co Down last night.
The crash, involving two vehicles, happened at around 10.30pm at Ballyblack Road East in the Newtownards area.
Two other men were injured, one of whom was badly trapped and was cut free by fire officers using specialist cutting gear.
The road remained closed this morning as police investigated the accident.
Group commander John Denver of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said officers were alerted at 10.30pm.
“The two appliances found a very serious car accident involving two cars, a number of people trapped and a few walking wounded. They had to deal with a heavily trapped individual and unfortunately there was a fatality at the scene. We used heavy cutting gear to get him out of the car and he was taken to the Ulster Hospital.”