Belfast Telegraph

Road deaths at lowest level on record in 2017

Road deaths in Ireland fell to the lowest level on record last year.

A total of 158 people lost their lives on the country's roads in 2017, 28 fewer (15%) than the previous 12 months.

The number was the lowest since road deaths were first recorded in Ireland in 1959. The previous lowest was 162 in 2015.

The 158 people died in a total of 143 fatal crashes. In 2016, 186 lives were lost in 174 fatal crashes.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said: "It is very encouraging to see that we have reversed the upward trend in road deaths witnessed in 2016.

"The combined focus on improved legislation, greater enforcement and road safety campaigns all played their part in saving lives.

"But while it is heartening to see that 2017 was the lowest year on record for road deaths, this is not good enough.

"We need to continue our efforts if we are to achieve the objective of reducing fatalities to 124 by 2020. Ultimately our aim should be zero deaths on our roads."

Liz O'Donnell, chairwoman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), said: "While one death is one too many, the only way we can measure success or failure in road safety is by recording the number of deaths on our roads.

"The drop in deaths in 2017 is a very welcome development.

"Whatever the reason for this decline, the main factor was ultimately as a result of the decision of every road user to change their behaviour for the better. For this I thank you.

"However, my great concern is that this downward trend will not be sustained in 2018 and beyond.

"There must be a concerted effort on the part of government, government departments, agencies and the public to continue to implement the measures in the Government's road safety strategy."

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, from the Garda National Roads Policing Unit, said: "I would also like to express my thanks to all the drivers who slowed down, wore their safety belt, put the mobile away and most importantly did not drink or take drugs and drive.

"All road users played a part in making this the safest year on record - but we can never be complacent and we can always do more to reduce road fatalities further.

"One road death is one too many.

"An Garda Siochana will continue to target those that put others in danger on the roads, and the additional 150 Traffic Corps members being recruited in 2018 will greatly assist us to target and intercept those that cause risk to you and I on the road."

In Northern Ireland, 63 people died on the roads in 2017.

This was down on the 68 fatalities recorded in 2016 and 74 in 2015.

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