2009 Safest Year on Record

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Government Road Safety Target Achieved Three Years Ahead of Schedule

2009 was the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959, that’s according to the Road Safety Authority which has released provisional road safety figures for 2009, today Friday 1st January 2010.

A total of 240 people tragically lost their lives on Irish roads in 2009. This is 39 fewer fatalities compared to 279 deaths last year.

In 2009 the Government’s Road Safety Target of achieving no more than 252 deaths per annum by the end of 2012 was also achieved, three years ahead of schedule.

Commenting on the achievement Mr. Gay Byrne, Chairman, Road Safety Authority said, “There are 39 people alive and well today because road users made better choices in 2009. Choices not to speed, not to drive while tired and to wear a high visibility jacket when walking. I want to pay tribute to the decent people of this country who have changed their attitudes and their behaviour for the better. We truly have an emerging culture of road safety in Ireland. For that the credit goes to road users. Your choices have saved lives and prevented injuries. Well done and please keep up your efforts in 2010.”

“To those families who have lost loved ones I pledge that the Road Safety Authority will continue working to save lives so that others will never have to feel the pain and heartbreak you now cope with every day.”

Sounding a note of caution Mr. Byrne added that “The improvements we have made will not be sustained if we don’t continue to introduce the other vital measures contained in the Government’s Road Safety Strategy.”

“The risks that people face, on a daily basis, will not disappear just because the country is in recession. Death and injury on the roads doesn’t discriminate.”

“The biggest challenge facing us now is to change the culture of speeding in this country through enforcement and educational campaigns. The introduction of a network of safety cameras across the country in mid 2010 will play a leading role in tackling this problem.” Concluded Mr. Byrne.

A breakdown of provisional figures for 2009 shows that in total 240 people lost their lives in compared to 279 in 2008, representing a 14% reduction.

Some of the key provisional statistics for 2009 include;

§  40% of road deaths were under 25 years of age.
§  49% of road deaths occurred at the weekend.
§  Sunday was the most dangerous day of the week with 51 road deaths
§  The hours between 6pm and 8pm were the most dangerous, with 30 deaths (13%)
§  The average monthly fatality rate was 20 in 2009 compared to 23 in 2008 and 28 in 2007.
§  The safest month of the year was September when 13 deaths occurred. This is also the safety month on record.

Commenting on the highlights of 2009 Mr. Noel Brett, CEO said “Thanks to the support of the public and a real willingness to change behaviour the range of measures implemented in 2009 across education, enforcement and engineering has resulted in our safest year on record. Indeed, in 2009 the European Transport Safety Council ranked Ireland 6th in Europe for road safety.”

He concluded by adding “I want to thank all road users for their efforts in 2009 and I would appeal to everyone to build on the achievements made to make 2010 even safer. Finally on behalf of the RSA I would like to wish everyone a very safe and happy new year.”