The Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA) has released provisional road collision statistics for 2016, showing there was a 15 per cent increase in road traffic related fatalities in 2016, compared to 2015.

The figures, based on preliminary crash investigations by An Garda Síochána, showed that 187 people lost their lives on the roads in 175 fatal crashes in 2016, compared to 162 lives lost in 155 fatal crashes in 2015. This represents a 15 per cent increase in fatalities and a 13 per cent increase in fatal crashes (based on provisional statistics at 5pm, December 30).

Minister Shane Ross, commenting on the end of year report said: “I am very saddened by such a huge loss of life on our roads in 2016. I am also acutely aware that these are more than just numbers. They represent someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, father or mother. If anything is to come from such a tragic loss of life it is that it should serve as a reminder to us all that the road is a shared space, and that we have a duty of care towards each other every time we use the road.”

Ms. Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority, said: “2016 has been a very bad year for road safety in Ireland. I am very concerned that the increase in deaths is part of a broader trend which has seen road deaths rise in three out of the last four years. This is unacceptable and we must all redouble our efforts to prevent more needless loss of life. Looking ahead to next year there are grounds for optimism. I certainly welcome the recent appointment of a dedicated Assistant Commissioner for Roads Policing and a firm commitment to increasing the numbers in the Garda Roads Policing Unit, which will allow for more visible policing. The new Road Traffic Act 2016 and the implementation of its life saving measures will also be hugely important to reversing the upward trend. However, this does not absolve individuals from their need to take greater personal responsibility for their actions when using the road.”