Road Safety Officer makes appeal after increase in Mayo road deaths
THE Mayo Road Safety Officer has asked the public to make road safety their new year resolution after road fatalities in Mayo rose by 66 percent in the last 12 months.
The 2020 figures released by the Road Safety Authority showed that in Mayo there were five fatalities on our roads, an increase from three in 2019. This increase is a reverse in the trend seen over the previous three years, which recorded year-on-year drops in road deaths.
The national figures also show that despite the reduction in the volume of traffic due to Covid-19 lockdowns, fatalities rose 6 percent overall, with 149 people losing their lives on Ireland’s roads.
Mayo Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons said that 2020 had been a bad year for a number of reasons, and he urged drivers and other road users to make small changes in the new year to turn the trend around again.
“We all have a responsibility to make our roads safe. Drivers, by simply obeying the road rules – sticking to the speed limit, not driving impaired, always wearing a seatbelt and not using a mobile phone – can help reduce the number of people being killed and seriously injured on our roads,” he said.
While the number of deaths on Mayo’s road increased, there was a decrease in the number of collisions. Figures released by An Garda Síochána at the end of November showed that serious road traffic accidents decreased from 34 to 18 and serious injuries decreased from 36 to 20.
Nationally, the number of drivers who died decreased by 11 percent, but the number of passenger deaths rose by the same percentage, while there was a 5 percent increase in pedestrian deaths, a 2 percent increase in pedal cyclist deaths and a 1 percent increase in motorcyclist deaths.
Mr Gibbons said that all road users have to be aware of their surroundings and that everyone has a role to play in reducing deaths and serious injury.
“Other road users also have an important role to play. Passengers can hold drivers accountable for safe driving and speak up if they feel unsafe. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are our most vulnerable road users and are encouraged to manage their risks on the roads by wearing protective and highly visible clothing.
“While all road users should be looking out for each other, these vulnerable road users will come off worse in a crash, no matter who is at fault. So make a New Year’s resolution to help reduce the road toll and start that resolution today, by making sure you share the road with all road users with an increase number of cyclists and pedestrians using our roads.”
Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, said she is saddened by the increase in road deaths, but that she believes the overall strategy to reduce road trauma is working, with a 26 percent reduction in road deaths between 2013 and 2019.
“Thanks to the success of the current road-safety strategy and the compliance of road users, Ireland is viewed as a leader in road safety and is ranked as second safest in the EU and fourth globally. It is important to acknowledge that many lives have been saved, and the next strategy now being prepared will build on this progress.
“The Government sets ambitious road safety targets so that it will drive everyone involved in road safety to work tirelessly to save lives and prevent injuries. The next Government Road Safety Strategy will be even more challenging. It will be committed to ‘Vision Zero’, that is zero deaths on Irish roads by 2050.”