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Majority of road deaths occur on Rural Roads in 2021

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have today published a provisional review of progress in road safety up to 15 July, 2021. The review shows that from 1 January to 15 July, 2021, 65 people died on Irish roads in 60 collisions. This represents 12 per cent fewer collisions and 12 per cent fewer deaths compared to provisional Garda data for the same period in 2020.

A significant majority of fatalities happened outside of urban areas, with 82 per cent of deaths occurring on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or higher. The review also found that 406 people were seriously injured in collisions. Further analysis shows that pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists accounted for almost half of all serious injuries (199).

The time between 12noon and 4pm was the riskiest on Irish roads, accounting for 31% of fatalities to date this year. There were 59 per cent fewer road user fatalities occurring between midnight and 8am compared to the same period in 2020. The number of fatalities occurring at the weekend decreased by a quarter versus last year.

Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “While road deaths may be down this year, it should be viewed against an increase in deaths in 2020. Deaths fell in most European countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, but not in Ireland. As a result, Ireland has slipped from second safest country in the EU 27 to fifth.”

“Our own research is telling us that one factor behind this is a deterioration in road user behaviour. The Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey[1] which we conducted late last year revealed more drivers admitting to speeding in 50km and 100km speed zones. It also showed an increase in motorists texting while driving plus driving while fatigued and nodding off while behind the wheel.

This research confirms what our colleagues in An Garda Síochána are seeing in reality on the roads, with many drivers taking unnecessary risks. More drivers and motorcyclists have been killed on the road in 2021, so I’m asking everyone who gets behind the wheel to slow down and stay focused, especially as traffic volumes increase and return to normal levels in the coming months,” concluded Mr. Waide.

To date in 2021, a total of 71 people have died on Irish roads, 7 less than the same period in 2020, but still too many.