There have been 24,255 deaths on Irish roads since recordings began in 1959, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
The RSA provided the numbers in advance of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) on Sunday.
The day is held every year to remember all those who have died or have been injured on the roads, and also seeks to raise awareness about road traffic safety.
Many commemoration services took place across the world for this day, and Ireland is not excluded. Most counties in Ireland commemorated the day with memorial masses, so as to remember the victims who have lost their lives on Irish roads.
Minister for Transport, Tourism, Sports, Shane Ross said: “World Day of Remembrance 2018 which will be marked around the world [on] Sunday 18 November is an opportunity for us all to not only remember those who we have lost or have been injured on the roads but to focus efforts on reducing fatalities and serious injuries.
“Measures such as the introduction of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 earlier this year will hopefully lead to lives being saved and I want to thank everyone who supported the passage of this important legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas.”
Decreasing Road Fatalities
According to provisional data from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), there have been 129 road fatalities so far this year (up to 12th November).
Moreover, for the past decade, road fatalities have been steadily decreasing from over 350 to over 150 in 2017. Donna Price, chairperson of the Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA) applauds the decrease in road fatalities and believes that there is certainly more awareness of road safety by the public.
She told The City, “Well obviously I welcome the reduction in road traffic deaths. I think people are changing their driving habits. They’re certainly more aware because I think in previous years in the 70s, the figures were up to the 600s and we heard little to nothing about them.”
The latest drink-driving laws which came into effect in October could also further decrease the number of reckless drivers on the road. The new regulations state that anyone caught with between 50-80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres will be disqualified of their driving license for three months and will also receive a €200 fine.
“Now, if you are caught over the limit, you would lose your license. We believe people would no longer take that chance because the license is very important to many people,” said Ms Price.
She believes that the government’s target of under 124 deaths according to the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 can be reached. However, she remains vigilant that there should not be an acceptable number of road deaths to be content with.
She said: “I think we cannot stop until we get to as close as to zero as we can. There’s a little video I love sharing where they ask people, ‘ What do you think is an acceptable number?’ And they may come up with a figure of 70 or 20. You know, as if it’s acceptable to lose that number of people.
“It just isn’t acceptable, because these (road deaths) aren’t incurable diseases. It’s bad enough to lose your child to cancer or an incurable illness but to lose them in a crash with a drunk driver or somebody who has been recklessly speeding is simply unforgivable.”
What is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims?
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims ( WDR) takes place on the third Sunday of November every year.
The slogan for this year’s WDR was ‘Roads have Stories’
WDR was initially celebrated nationally by UK’s road charity organization RoadPeace back in 1993 before it was officially recognized by the UN in 2005. It is the 25th anniversary of WDR this year.
For a list of Irish events commemorating WDR, click here. Further information on the history of WDR can be found here.