Over 250 people have lost their lives on Irish roads over the past year, authorities on both sides of the border have confirmed.
In the north, Roads Minister Chris Hazzard confirmed that 68 people have died during as a result of road tragedies during 2016, a slight reduction from the 74 killed in 2015.
Mr Hazzard said that each person had a personal responsibility to behave appropriately as everyone shared the road. Minister Hazzard said: “Road traffic collisions are sudden, traumatic events, occurring in a moment but with consequences enduring for a lifetime.
“This has sadly been all too evident over the Christmas break which has seen lives lost and families left heartbroken. I extend my sincere sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and those who are suffering serious injuries through road tragedy in 2016.
“Every day and every journey brings with it a new risk and we need to be on our guard at all times. I am personally committed to making road safety a priority. While six fewer people have died than last year, every death is one too many – we need to work together to make 2017 a better year on our roads.”
The Minister added: “We will continue to focus on the main problem areas, such as drink driving, speeding, carelessness and inattention and seat belt wearing; and on groups which are over-represented in the casualty figures.
“These are a key focus of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, which was passed by the Assembly in January 2016. The Act provides for a new drink drive regime that will mean lower limits including a de facto zero limit for learner drivers, newly qualified drivers and professional drivers. Other changes will include a new graduated penalty regime, increased enforcement powers, and greater use of Drink Drive Rehabilitation Schemes.”