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Last year, Irish road deaths decreased to their lowest level since 2012. It looks like we are facing an increased number of fatalities in 2016 too. We look back at what caused this unexpected rise in 2013 and what we did then to improve Irish road safety.
Why did we jump from 162 deaths in 2012 to 190 in 2013?
One reason for the increase in road deaths may have been Garda cuts. Budget restrictions meant that the Garda traffic unit had access to fewer resources for law enforcement in 2013. Gay Byrne, the chairman of the RSA, said the traffic corps was down from 1200 people in 2010 to 800 in 2013. However this argument was countered by Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Transport at the time, who said that there is no direct correlation between the number of Gardaí and road safety because in 2010 there were more Gardaí but there were also more road deaths.
Another thing that stood out was the number of motorcycle fatalities. Motorcyclist deaths almost doubled (up 44%) from 16 in 2012 to 27 in 2013. This may have been due to bad weather at the beginning of the year but it may have been due to good weather. The Communications Manager for the RSA, Brian Farrell said, “The good spells of weather that we had may have brought more bikers out on to the roads.” Inexperience and a motorbike on Irish roads can have terrible consequences no matter what the weather.
Whatever causes increases, every effort must be made to prevent them.
Irish people need to learn to adapt to our increasingly changeable weather. We need to change how we drive in Ireland. We must learn how to drive in high winds and learn that roads are particularly slippery when rained on after a long dry spell. We also need to know when to say ‘it’s too dangerous to drive today.’ In good conditions, this advice still applies:
Pedestrians and cyclists have responsibilities too, wear high visibility vests and obey the rules of the road when you are walking or cycling.
Ireland began recording road deaths in 1959. It soon became apparent that fatalities were increasing every year. In the space of 13 years they almost doubled from 306 in 1959 to 640 in 1972. Throughout the seventies the number fluctuated but never went below 500, making the seventies the most dangerous period for Irish roads since records began. The government decided to take action and concentrate efforts on road safety. The average fatalities per decade decreased from 588 in the seventies to 485 in the eighties, 441 in the nineties, 353 in the last decade, to an average of 179 in this decade so far.
Relative to the state of Irish roads in previous decades, Irish roads are getting safer. Today road deaths are a third of what they were in the seventies and they are half of what they were a decade ago. However, the upward turn this year shows we can’t become complacent and we still have work to do. It’s also worth remembering, each of those numbers is a person gone from their family and friends forever so any number is too high.
Whatever road you're driving on your car must be fully insured. At AIG, we offer low cost car insurance quotes with absolutely no administration fees, so if you need to talk to someone simply phone 1890 27 27 27 or go to aig.ie for a quote today.
To keep you on the road for less, at AIG, we offer low cost car insurance quotes with absolutely no administration fees, so if you need to talk to someone contact us for a quote.