Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's deadly roads: Study exposes the terrible toll

By Kathryn Torney

New statistics show the devastating impact of road deaths - and identify Fermanagh as the area in Northern Ireland with the highest death toll from collisions.

The Fermanagh deaths include six separate fatal crashes on the A4 main road out of Enniskillen, which leads to the M1 motorway.

There were three fatal collisions on the A47 from Kesh to Belleek.

Sixty-three people were seriously injured in crashes in the area during 2013 and 2014, according to research by Detail Data, a joint project between investigative news website The Detail in Belfast and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action.

Of all the 129 fatal collisions recorded across Northern Ireland over the two-year period, 74% were on rural roads where there are speed limits of over 40mph. There was only one fatal crash on a motorway.

Detail Data has analysed PSNI statistics relating to 1,321 collisions in 2013 and 2014 leading to death or serious injury of drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

In total 136 people were killed across Northern Ireland and 1,430 were seriously injured.

Other key findings include:

  •  Almost a quarter of those killed on NI roads in the last two years were men aged between 17 and 24. Of all deaths, almost 80% were male.
  • The death toll includes 54 drivers, 25 pedestrians, 23 motorcyclists, 16 front seat passengers, 10 rear seat passengers, 7 cyclists and 1 pillion passenger.
  • Lisburn PSNI area had the highest number of crashes in total - 100. The lowest was in Cookstown, Co Tyrone - 20.
  •  There is a strong gender imbalance. 106 males were killed and 938 seriously injured in 2013 and 2014 - compared to 30 females killed and 492 seriously injured.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of those killed were 65 or over.
  •  Despite the perception that drivers are well aware of the dangers of drink-driving, it remains a serious issue. The top three principal causes of fatal collisions over the last five years in Northern Ireland were drink driving, followed by excessive speed and then inattention/attention diverted.

PSNI Inspector Rosemary Leech warned that "dangers lurk around every corner" on rural roads - including farm vehicles, walkers, slower moving vehicles and motorbikes.

She called the 136 deaths on our roads in the last two years "an appalling waste of life".

Sam Knox is a director in the Road Safety Council of Northern Ireland - a voluntary group that aims to reduce death and serious injuries through its local road safety committees.

He said families never get over road deaths. Serious injuries caused by car crashes also wreck families' lives.

The Department of the Environment has confirmed that its budget for road safety communications, grants and educational materials has been cut to just over £1m for 2015/16. This is almost half of the £1.9m allocated in 2014/15.

Read Detail Data's report in full here.

Belfast Telegraph


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