Fatal road crashes increase again
The number of people killed on Irish roads has increased for the second year in a row, new figures have revealed.
A total of 196 people died in crashes during 2014 - a 3% rise on the 190 people who lost their lives during the previous 12 months.
Liz O'Donnell, chairwoman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), said: "196 precious lives ended on our roads in 2014. That's six more than last year. These people are gone forever. For their loved ones they are not consigned to year end statistics."
Although the number of driver fatalities dropped from 95 to 79, there was a significant increase in the deaths of other vulnerable road users including 42 pedestrians and 12 cyclists.
It is believed that 26% of the 39 passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
A total of 16 children were killed on the roads - eight were pedestrians and eight were passengers.
Ms O'Donnell added: "I appeal to all road users in 2015. Even if you change one aspect of your behaviour, be it speeding, not using a mobile phone, always wearing a seatbelt, or just being more careful and courteous to others, you can help make the roads safer for all of us. Small things can make a huge difference."
The southern region accounted for the largest proportion of road deaths. Dublin recorded the biggest increase in fatalities (47%) in 2014.
Although still high, there was a drop in the number of motorcyclist deaths from 27 in 2013 to 24 over the past 12 months.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe said he was concerned so many lives had been lost.
He said: "I would like to make a particular appeal and ask drivers to be more careful and mindful of vulnerable road users, in turn I would ask these vulnerable road users to take greater steps to ensure they can be seen when using the road, and appreciate that they too need to follow the rules of the road."
Meanwhile Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said officers would be clamping down on motoring offences during 2015.
He said: "2014 was a tragic year for the families and friends of the 196 people who lost their lives on our roads. An Garda Siochana is fully committed to playing its part in improving road safety, ensuring that the roads in this country are a safe and secure place for all our road users."