Concerns about the 70 percent increase in road fatalities compared to the same period last year

The number of fatalities on our roads has increased by 70 percent compared to the same period last year – with motorcyclists being involved in a fifth of all fatal accidents so far this year.

ardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have vowed to carry out safety campaigns throughout the year amid fears that 2022 could prove to be one of the deadliest on record in terms of road deaths if current trends continue.

The Easter road safety crackdown was hailed as a success, with no deaths recorded on Good Friday or Easter Saturday. However, seven people suffered serious injuries in three clashes.

A total of 51 people have died on Irish roads so far this year – a shocking 70 per cent increase on the 30 deaths recorded in the same period last year, albeit during the Covid-19 lockdown when traffic levels were reduced.

However, the number of deaths that year also represents an increase of almost 22 per cent over Ireland’s last pre-pandemic year, 2019, when traffic levels were at normal levels.

While 51 people died as of April 15 this year, a total of 42 people died over the same period in 2019 — an increase of nearly 22 percent.

The death toll so far this year represents a nearly 25 percent increase in road deaths compared to the same period in 2018 (40).

Of the 51 fatalities that year, 26 involved drivers, ten motorcyclists, eight pedestrians and seven passengers.

Safety campaigners are deeply concerned about the death toll of motorcyclists – with the number of fatalities far outweighing the percentage of traffic represented by motorcyclists.

Future road safety campaigns will now focus on motorcyclists and urge other motorists to pay more attention to motorcyclists on the road.

However, Gardaí and the RSA have been heartened by the fact that there have been no fatalities of cyclists or passengers so far this year, having been the focus of several targeted road safety campaigns in recent years.

This is true even though anecdotal evidence suggests that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a significant increase in the number of cyclists on Irish roads, particularly in large urban areas where workers now see cycling as a viable means of transport.

The number of cyclists on Irish roads is expected to continue to rise as local authorities devote resources to developing dedicated cycle lanes in major cities and towns.

The Easter road safety campaign focused on speeding, drunk driving and drug driving.

Gardaí have seen a 37 percent increase in drug-driving detections in recent years, thanks in part to the introduction of new testing technologies and kits.

Junior Transport Secretary Hildegard Naughton warned the Government is now spending €1m a day to support safe travel on Irish roads.

She urged motorists to heed Garda and RSA safety advice – to slow down and never use drugs or drink while driving.

“The increase in road deaths this year is deeply worrying. We all need to take action to reverse this trend by being more mindful on the road,” she said.

“Four people died and eight were seriously injured during the Easter holiday last year. This means that as drivers we have a responsibility to slow down, never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, never use our phones or drive tired and always make sure everyone in our vehicle wears their seat belts.”

Garda traffic chiefs have vowed to remain focused on speeding, which has been shown to contribute to almost 40 per cent of fatal road accidents in Ireland. Experts warn that the risk of dying in an accident doubles for every 15 km/h increase in speed over the legal limit.

Studies showed that in fatal crashes where speeding was found to be a contributing factor, 91 percent of the at-fault drivers were male. Concerns about the 70 percent increase in road fatalities compared to the same period last year

Fry Electronics Team

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