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Mayo 2017 road deaths set to treble on 2016 figure

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Anton McNulty

THE number of road deaths so far this year in Mayo has almost trebled compared to the 2016 total, with the county now having the third most road deaths in Ireland.
To date the number of deaths on the county’s roads in 2017 has reached 11 and the figure has been described as a ‘cause for great concern’ considering that the total figure for 2016 was four. The number of deaths was discussed at the quarterly meeting of the Mayo Road Safety Together Committee which was held in Castlebar last week. Noel Gibbons, the Road Safety Officer with Mayo County Council, said the rise in fatal collisions is exceptionally disappointing and all road users needed to take precautions.
“Too often motorists are driving recklessly or not obeying the rules of the road. Similarly, pedestrians are not protecting themselves by being more visible to cars, or are taking chances crossing over roads where they shouldn’t,” Mr Gibbons stated.
“More effort is needed by both groups of road users, and as we head into a time of the year where using our roads become more challenging because of poor weather conditions and less daylight, we are appealing to the public to report all collisions to help build a history of accident prone areas so these can be addressed and prevent further damage and loss.
“The rise in fatal collisions across the county is exceptionally disappointing with each fatality causing untold misery and distress to the loved ones of the people who died. Each statistic represents a family which has lost someone in sudden and tragic circumstances and our thoughts remain with families affected in this way,” he said.
Mayo has by far the worst road safety record of all the counties in Connacht for 2017 with four fatalities in Galway, two each in Sligo and Roscommon and one in Leitrim. The only two counties with a worse record are Cork with 13 and Dublin with 19 deaths. Longford is the only county in the State not to record a single fatality in 2017.
Last year, Mayo bucked the national trend with a low number of road deaths but this year the figure has been turned on its head and if the current trend continues, it is set to overtake the 2015 figure when 13 people died on the roads.
The committee chairman Mr Paul Dolan, Head of Roads with Mayo County Council said road fatality statistics for 2017 should worry every road user in the county.
“These numbers seem to indicate that awareness campaigns and education initiatives are not reaching the motorists who most need them and some driver attitudes need to change. We are deeply concerned about these fatalities, because they show a significant increase for Mayo, and call for urgent action from all role-players involved in road safety to reverse this and for the general public to play their part also,” he said.