The Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána and the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine are appealing to road users after a significant increase in the number of road deaths over the last two months*.
To date in 2020, 47 people have died on Irish roads, an increase of 24% on the same period last year. Over the six days from 17 March to 22 March, nine people alone were killed on Irish roads.
The three organisations are reminding road users of the ever-present dangers on Irish roads and have called on road users to act responsibly and safely. Concerns about the increase in road collisions have also been raised by healthcare professionals, worried about the additional pressure road crashes will place on first responders and Emergency Department staff who need to focus on dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is desperately sad that already in 2020 so many lives have been lost and families traumatised by entirely preventable road collisions,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross. “This is unforgivable. We are in an emergency currently with the COVID-19 pandemic: A health care crisis that requires all the resources of government, the health service and our first responders. We cannot afford to put any more pressure on our hospitals and healthcare professionals at this time. Just as it is our national duty to tackle the pandemic, it is also our national duty to stay safe, keep others safe on the roads and not add to the workload of our health care system. Don’t be selfish. Don’t drink or take drugs and drive. Keep within the speed limits, wear a seat belt and don’t even think of using your phone while driving.”
Liz O Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority added: “It has been a shocking start to 2020. Road deaths have increased by 24% and it’s a trend we don’t want to see happening at any time. The roads might be quieter than normal but there are more vulnerable road users out and about. So, it has never been more important to practice good road safety habits. This is not a time for making unnecessary journeys, it is a time for taking extra care in everything we do. I understand that people need to exercise by going for a walk or cycle, but not only do we need to do it responsibly taking the government’s health advice into account, we need to do it safely. I am asking road users to make a special effort to take greater responsibility. Drivers in particular need to slow down, put away your mobile phone and look out for vulnerable road users.”
*As of 26th March 2020, there have been 47 fatalities on Irish roads, nine more than for the same period in 2019. There were 14 pedestrians, 20 drivers, eight passengers, four motorcyclists and one cyclist killed to date on Irish roads. The monthly average for 2020 stands at 16 deaths per month, compared to 12 per month for both 2019 and 2018. Nine deaths were recorded in January, 20 in February and 18 to date in March 2020.