September 2009 Safest Month on Record

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Road users praised for extraordinary achievement

While 13 people tragically lost their lives on the roads in September 2009 it was the safest month on Irish roads since records began, that’s according to provisional figures released today Thursday 1st October by the Road Safety Authority.

The figure is also in stark contrast to the worst month for road deaths ever recorded which was in November 1981 when a total of 80 people lost their lives on the roads. Such a loss of life is impossible to comprehend as it would have represented almost three roads deaths every day.

A total of 176 people have died in road collisions to date in 2009 this represents a decrease of 42 deaths on the previous year. Record reductions in deaths in the months of February (15 deaths) and September (13) have contributed significantly to the lower number of fatalities on our road this year.

Commenting on the provisional figures Mr. Gay Byrne, Chairman, Road Safety Authority said “ While one death is one to many, what has been achieved this month, and to date this year is truly amazing. More importantly it’s a tribute to the ordinary people of this country who have changed their behaviour. You are saving lives and deserve thanks.”

He added that “What is more remarkable about this achievement is that in the 1970’s we killed an average of 50 people a month; in the 1990’s 40 and at the start of this decade it was 30 road deaths a month.”

Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey added that “The work of the agencies and stakeholders involved in the Road Safety Strategy, combined with the individual efforts of the public, has contributed to the safest September ever and what could also turn out to be the safest year on our roads. The current Government Road Safety Strategy, implementation of some tough decisions and the cooperation of road users across the country have made Ireland the sixth safest country in Europe. Lives have been saved and devastating injuries prevented. With continued commitment and leadership there is absolutely no reason why Ireland cannot be the very best in Europe. It can be done. The Irish public deserve that.

“This is not just theory – we have collectively shown what can be achieved in an integrated, interdependent strategy. The introduction of the Penalty Points system, Mandatory Alcohol Testing, the Garda Traffic Corps and the reform of the driver licensing system are just some critical elements of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy that have had a dramatic and positive effect on road safety. The decision to introduce these changes saved lives.

However, the improvements we have made will not be sustained if we don’t continue to implement the other vital measures contained in the Strategy.”

The Minister concluded by saying that “The greatest threat we now face on the roads is complacency. If we start thinking that we can sit back and relax or that the job is done we will slide back to those dark days when a life was lost every single day on the roads. More lives will have been lost because we failed to act.