Belfast Telegraph

Emergency services deal with 3,600 crashes so far this year on Northern Ireland's roads

By Chris Kilpatrick

Paramedics have responded to more than 3,600 crashes on Northern Ireland's roads so far this year.

The environment and health ministers have joined with the three main emergency services to urge road users to take more care and prevent further carnage.

To date 71 people have been killed on the region's roads in 2014.

The highest number of road deaths has occurred in the Newry and Mourne area with 11 lives lost this year.

Dame Mary Peters supported a Road Safety Week event in Newry High School yesterday attended by 200 young people from the area.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: "As recent tragedies have sadly reminded us, road safety is an all-year round challenge for every single road user.

"However, Road Safety Week gives us a chance to focus on how normal life can be destroyed in a split second.

"Collectively, the ability to reduce road casualties lies with each of us. We all have a personal responsibility; to ourselves, to other road users and to all of our families and communities.

"I would urge all road users to pay extra attention, to never drink or take drugs and drive, to slow down and to always wear your seatbelt."

Dale Ashford from the fire service said his colleagues had attended 602 road collisions this year, rescuing 498 people trapped in their vehicles.

And PSNI Superintendent David Moore PSNI added: "Inattention and speed, or more accurately, excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving, are consistently the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured on roads here.

"The police will enforce the law and are determined to make Northern Ireland's roads safer, but our role is very much secondary.

"Road users must accept their responsibility to think about their actions on the roads and modify their driving to cope with winter conditions. Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists need to see and be seen."

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