If current driving trends continue along Irish roads, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) predicts that nearly 80 more deaths could occur in the country in 2017.

The RSA and An Garda Síochána have published a provisional review of road fatalities for the first half of 2017. The review shows that, from January to June, 77 people died on Irish roads in 72 collisions. While this is a decrease of 10 deaths and 12 collisions when compared to the same period last year, much work still needs to be done, local officials say.

“The statistics revealed today are somewhat bittersweet,” said Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. “While the decrease in road deaths so far this year is to be welcomed, it remains wholly unacceptable that 77 people died on Irish roads so far in 2017.”

Statistics from An Garda Síochána show that arrests for driving under the influence are up 18% to 4,450 from 3,787 in 2016. Each month so far this year has seen more arrests than the same month last year, with April (901) and May (801) of 2017 showing the highest arrest levels for at least three years.

“I am encouraged by the enforcement activity of An Garda Síochána in the first six months of 2017,” Ross said. “A visible Garda presence on our roads is a key factor in changing the behaviours of road users for the better and clearly shows Gardaí have been enforcing our life saving road legislation. In addition to the Gardaí, all the relevant agencies including the RSA know the important role they play in implementing the Government’s Road Safety Strategy to reduce road deaths. However, the commitment of the public is also necessary; the personal efforts of all road users will go a long way to helping us achieve our collective aim, to save lives.”

Key review findings:

  • Road deaths have decreased by 11% when compared to figures for the same period last year
  • Up to 30 June 2017, 34 drivers, 11 passengers, 16 pedestrians, 6 motorcyclists and 10 pedal cyclists have been killed on Irish roads
  • Cyclist deaths have increased by 100% to 10 from 5 during the same period in 2016
  • Arrests for driving under the influence are up 18% to 4,450 from 3,787 in 2016

“The fact that 10 fewer people died on Irish roads in the first six months of this year compared to 2016 is to be welcomed but we must not become complacent,” said Michael Rowland, Director, Road Safety Research & Driver Education, RSA. “If the current monthly average were to continue, 78 more people could die by the end of 2017. We must do all we can to prevent as many of those lives as possible being lost.

“The significant increase in cyclist deaths and casualties so far this year is particularly concerning. Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road-users, yet many drivers do not demonstrate enough caution and awareness when sharing the road with cyclists. Drivers need to pay greater attention to their speed and provide adequate space when passing cyclists. Likewise, I would encourage cyclists to ensure they too are obeying the rules of the road and wearing reflective clothing and helmets at all times.”

See the provisional review here and a summary of the review here.