Belfast Telegraph

Speeding to blame for one in five Northern Ireland road deaths

By Adrian Rutherford

Nearly one in five fatal accidents on Northern Ireland's roads is caused by speed.

A total of 55 people were killed between 2012 and 2016 where excess speed was the main factor - 17% of all road fatalities.

The stark statistics were released ahead of Road Safety Week (November 20-26).

Almost two-thirds (65%) of fatalities from speeding occurred on rural roads and were largely male (85%), analysis shows.

The figures have led to fresh appeals for drivers and riders to slow down.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray said speeding, drink or drug driving and inattention are the principal causes of the most serious crashes. "We as a police service will continue to play our part, by robustly enforcing the law to make our roads safer, but everyone shares the responsibility to prevent deaths and injuries," she said.

"Drivers and riders need to slow down, pay greater attention to their surroundings, never ever drive or ride a motorbike after drinking or taking drugs and, whether you are a driver or passenger, always wear a seatbelt."

So far this year, 57 people have lost their lives on our roads, compared to 59 at the same time last year and 63 for 2015.

Gerry Lennon, group commander of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, said: "So far this year our firefighters have attended over 600 road traffic collisions and rescued over 400 people trapped in their vehicles.

"Sadly they witness first-hand the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as a consequence of irresponsible road user behaviour and in particular speed."

John McPoland from the Ambulance Service said: "Excessive speed is no accident, it is a decision to drive faster than road and traffic conditions allow. It is also a decision to drive beyond your capabilities.

"Unfortunately if you have an accident when driving too fast you are much less likely to walk away from it unscathed. Ambulance crews witness too many incidents where lives are lost and families are devastated as a result of decisions to speed."

Lynda Hurley from the Department for Infrastructure said: "We all have a personal responsibility to drive or ride in a way that keeps ourselves and others safe. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in collisions."

Belfast Telegraph

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