‘Too many people are still dying needlessly’

Launching Road Safety Week 2018 are Dept for Infrastructure Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey, Rapid Response Paramedic Ian Russell, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley and PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech. Picture: Michael Cooper
Launching Road Safety Week 2018 are Dept for Infrastructure Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey, Rapid Response Paramedic Ian Russell, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley and PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech. Picture: Michael Cooper

Local people have been urged to ensure they stay safe on the roads in 2019, after statistics showed that 55 people in Northern Ireland lost their lives in traffic collisions last year.

The Department for Infrastructure said everyone had a shared responsibility “to ensure our own safety and that of other road users”.

The release of provisional figures today by the PSNI shows that 55 people died in road tragedies during 2018, which is eight fewer people than 2017.

During 2018, 16 pedestrians, 23 drivers, eight passengers, seven motorcyclists and one person on a bicycle lost their lives in road tragedies. A total of 591 were seriously injured during the year up until 31 October 2018.

A total of 14,966 people have lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland since records began in 1931 and 78,817 have suffered serious injuries since serious injuries were first recorded in 1971.

Reflecting on the loss of life over the past year, Katrina Godfrey, DfI Permanent Secretary said: “Road traffic collisions can have life-long consequences and this year has again seen lives lost and many hundreds more seriously injured. I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and to those enduring life-changing injuries through road collisions.

“In 2018, road deaths have fallen for the fourth consecutive year but we need to continue to work together to make 2019 a better year on our roads.

“Too many people are still dying needlessly but road deaths are preventable. Regrettably, the evidence shows that more than nine in ten deaths and serious injuries on our roads are due to human error; caused by poor road user behaviour.

“Therefore we will only see a further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured if we all assume responsibility; slow down, never drink or take drugs and drive, pay attention and particularly look out for those who walk, cycle or ride a motorcycle as they are more vulnerable. Together it is our actions that will make a difference.

“The Department remains committed to improving road safety and continues to work closely with our road safety partners in the PSNI, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service and many other agencies to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives.”

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Despite the continuing downward trend and overall reduction in the number of people killed on our roads, one death is one too many.

“This reduction gives no consolation to 55 families across Northern Ireland, who are coming to terms with the death of loved ones killed in road traffic collisions during 2018. Many more people are fighting to recover or are learning to cope with life changing injuries.

“There is also a small group of people whose actions on the roads have caused death or serious injury. They not only have to live and cope with this knowledge, they may also be facing prosecution which could ultimately lead to imprisonment.

“Road safety is and will continue to be a key priority for police. It is a priority we all share. The simple reality is that many collisions can be avoided. So slow down; pay greater attention to your surroundings; leave the mobile phone alone; always wear a seatbelt and NEVER ever drink or take drugs and drive.”