Fire-fighters have urged people to make a New Year pledge to help make the roads safer after it emerged that 239 people lost their lives in fatal collisions across Ireland in 2015.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service told the ‘Journal’ that they have attended 72 road traffic accidents in Derry alone during the past year.
Although there were 90 such incidents the previous year in the city, the Fire Service echoed calls to people to help contribute towards achieving zero deaths on the roads.
A total of 74 people tragically lost their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads in 2015, while across the border in the Republic, there were 165 people killed as a result of 158 fatal collisions, with the highest monthly death toll of the year (20) recorded in December.
A number of these accidents occurred in Counties Derry and Donegal, with several local people having tragically died over the past year as a result of road collisions on local roads and across Ireland.
The South of Ireland figures released by the Road Safety Authority show that the number of fatalities, however, has actually fallen, with 28 less deaths than in 2014.
It is also the second lowest number of deaths since records began.
A spokesman for the RSA said: “This decrease is welcome, particularly in the context of the increases in fatalities seen in 2013 and 2014, when fatalities increased from a low of 162 in 2012 to 193 in 2014, marking the first increase in fatalities since 2005.”
A review of the 2015 fatal collisions among all drivers and passengers in the south indicates that in 29 per cent of cases a potentially life-saving seatbelt was not worn.
Across the border, Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service described the death toll there as an “unspeakable tragedy.”
“One death on our roads is one too many,” he said.
“Last year we attended 736 road traffic collisions and rescued 577 people. Unfortunately in 2014 our firefighters, along with our colleagues in the Emergency Services, witnessed all too often the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed caused by irresponsible road user behaviour.
“We must do all we can to ease the pain, loss and suffering to individuals, families and communities caused by road traffic collisions.”
“We are all responsible for road safety – we all have a responsibility to ‘Share the Road to Zero’ and we simply must all aspire towards zero road deaths in the year ahead.”
Local people have been urged to pledge to the Share the Road to Zero at www.sharetheroadtozero.com