Research announced this week by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána has revealed that road deaths dropped by 48% over the last decade. The announcement came as the RSA, An Garda Síochána, Local Authority Road Safety Officers and PARC Road Safety Group marked the global launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. The research, which analyses road deaths and serious injuries during the ten year period 2001 to 2010, also revealed a drop of 58% in the number of serious injuries sustained on Irish roads.
With the campaign slogan 'Make Roads Safe', the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety aims to save 5 million lives on the world's roads in the next ten years. This represents a total reduction of 50% on the predicted global death toll by 2020. At present, 1.3 million lives are lost and 50 million injuries are sustained as a result of collisions on the world's roads every year. Last year, 211 people died and 592 people were seriously injured on Irish roads. The RSA today announced a series of activities that will take place around the country to mark the UN Decade of Action with a major campaign set for later this year. The campaign will encourage people to continue their support for road safety by making a public commitment to change their behaviour on the roads for the better and make the roads safer for all road-users.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr Leo Varadkar T.D., said: "Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar TD: "As we launch UN Decade of Action for Road Safety today, we all need to ask ourselves what we can do to make our roads safer. Road users across Ireland have shown how small changes to behaviour on the roads can make a big difference in saving lives and preventing serious injuries. So please continue the good work by supporting UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and making your own commitment to making the roads safer for everyone."
Speaking at the launch today, Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive of the RSA said: "Today marks the beginning of a series of activities that will encourage road-users to make a change to their behaviour for the better. Reducing global road deaths by 50% over the next ten years seems like an impossible task but Irish road users have shown countries around the world that it can be done. In the past ten years, together we have saved more lives on the roads than ever before but there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure fewer families suffer the grief of losing a loved one. Think about what you can do to make this happen - changing your behaviour on the roads for the better could save a life."
The research revealed that the highest reduction in road deaths in the last decade (2001 to 2010) was recorded in pedal cyclists and motorcyclists (75% and 66% reduction respectively). Last year alone, fatalities among motorcyclists fell by 32% compared to 2009 figures. The number of drivers and passengers who were killed in 2010 also decreased with a reduction of 9% compared to 2009.
Chief Superintendent Gabriel McIntyre, An Garda Síochána said: "An Garda Síochána are committed to working with the Road Safety Authority (RSA), road safety groups and local authorities throughout the country to promote UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. Over the past number of years, Ireland has been at the forefront of changing road safety attitudes and behaviour. This has contributed to fewer deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads than ever before and could not have been done without the support of everyone who uses the roads. Today we are asking you to renew your commitment to making our roads safer for ourselves, our families and for future road-users."
Susan Gray, PARC Road Safety Group said: "PARC Road Safety Group, representing the Victims of road traffic collisions and their families, welcomes the huge reductions in deaths and injuries on our roads announced today and we wish to commend all of the Stakeholders in Road Safety who played a part in contributing to this decline. We must however reflect at the launch of this UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and remember the personal stories behind these cold statistics. Each one represents a life cut tragically short or altered forever through injury, and a family left behind to cope with a lifetime of pain and suffering."
"They are much more than just numbers and we remember all of the Victims here today. Road traffic collisions are preventable and we must all play our small part in reducing this needless pain and suffering and in making our roads safer for all" Concluded Susan.
"Making all road users aware of UN Decade of Action encourages them to think more closely about safe driving and the causes of road traffic collisions and in doing so will prevent the loss of live and serious injuries on our roads by promoting this campaign at a local level" said Mr Noel Gibbons RSO Mayo County Council.
Events to mark UN Decade of Action for Road Safety are being organised by Local Authorities throughout the country. Further information on these events will be available on the RSA website www.rsa.ie and also on the World Health Organisation's website www.who.int
Further information on UN Decade of Action for Road Safety is available on www.makeroadssafe.org.