The Road Safety Authority has launched the fifth government Road Safety Strategy. The primary aim of the new initiative is to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years. This means reducing deaths on Ireland’s roads annually from 144 to 72 or lower and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 to 630 or lower by 2030.
Fatalities have dropped by 72% since 1998
To put this in context, Ireland has come a really long way in terms of road safety and in particular, in the number of road deaths. It is always sobering to remember that these statistics refer to real people with families and that the serious injuries mentioned are often life-altering for people as individuals and the families affected.
However when you look back to 1998, when the first such strategy was launched, there were 458 deaths on Irish roads and this has now dropped by 72% since then. This is despite an additional 1 million licensed drivers on Ireland’s roads and an additional 1.3 million vehicles on Ireland’s roads.
In 2019, Ireland had the second-lowest rate of road deaths in the European Union (EU) with 28 per million population. In the time from 2013, 53% of fatalities were car users (693), 21% were pedestrians (269), 12% were motorcyclists (161), 8% were Goods or PSV drivers (101) and 6% were cyclists (79).
There are three male fatalities for every female fatality and the two highest represented age groups are 65+ (23%) and 25-34 (19%). We know from previous figures (from 2013-2017), that speeding was a contributory factor in 25% of fatalities, 36% of driver’s killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol and 26% were not wearing a seat belt (2013-2020).
Aim to have no deaths on Ireland's roads by 2050
All this forms part of the ‘Vision Zero’ Strategy, which as the name suggests, aims that by 2050 no one will be killed or seriously injured on Ireland’s roads. This fifth Road Safety Strategy is comprised of a three-phased Action Plan. Phase 1 takes place from 2021-2024, Phase 2 from 2025 – 2027 and Phase 3 from 2028-2030.
The Phase 1 Action Plan (2021-2024) includes 50 so-called “high-impact actions – those that will have a direct impact on the reduction of deaths and serious injuries.
This includes the setting up of a working group to examine and review the setting up of speed limits, including a proposed default 30 km/h limit in urban areas. Interestingly, one of the ideas is an online portal for road users to upload footage of road traffic offences which could assist in prosecution. Others include the provision of 1,000km of segregated walking and cycling facilities, tighter enforcement of learner driver permits and a review of the mobile safety camera system.
To read more on this new strategy click here.