Local road users have been commended for their safe driving on Galway roads over the Christmas period, as national figures show a decline in the number of road deaths in 2012.
Provisional casualty figures published last Tuesday showed that a total of 161 people tragically lost their lives on Irish roads in 2012, representing 25 fewer road deaths than in the previous year and 51 fewer fatalities than in 2010. The West had the highest number of fatalities, with 35 deaths on the roads over the past year, 18 of which occurred in Galway.
The new figures showed that 30 per cent of road deaths victims were under 25 years of age and 41 per cent of fatal accidents occurred on a Saturday or Sunday. The hours between 4pm and 6pm were deemed to be the most dangerous, with 19 per cent of deaths occurring within this two-hour timeframe.
The average monthly fatality rate in 2012 was 14 compared to 16 in 2011 and 18 in 2010 and the safest month of the year was November, when eight deaths occurred. The research also confirmed that the majority (67 per cent) of road death victims were male.
Commenting on the release of the figures, Chairman of the Road Safety Authority Gay Byrne said that the development and publication of a new road safety strategy is currently underway to cover the period between 2013 and 2020 and will focus on serious injury reduction, tackling repeat road offenders and developing more forgiving roads.
“At the end of 2006, the year before the third Road Safety Strategy was launched, we were losing a life on the road every single day. Six years later and this has dropped to three lives lost every week. So as a result of your actions, the road using public, you are preventing four deaths every week now compared to 2006,” he said.
“While one death is one too many, this is an extraordinary achievement and something of which you should all be very proud. The challenge now is to build on this success. We have three more lives a week to save.”
An Garda Síochána Commissioner Martin Callinan also thanked motorists for their co-operation, commending them on making a “conscious and positive change” to both their attitudes and behaviour on the roads.
“This is evident in particular in our drink driving arrests which are down for the fifth year in a row, whilst there have been more Garda Mandatory Alcohol Checkpoints in 2012, compared to 2011. In 2007, the rate of detection was approximately 1 in 25, now it’s approximately 1 in 50. This clearly shows increased compliance by responsible members of the public.”