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Policy Information

Road Safety

Published: 12 July 2019
From: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Introduction

The current policy framework for road safety is set out in the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020

This strategy set the target of a reduction of road collision fatalities on Irish roads to 25 per million population or less by 2020. This means reducing deaths from 162 in 2012 to 124 or fewer by 2020.

A target for the reduction of serious injuries by 30% from 472 (2011) or fewer to 330 by 2020 or 61 per million population has also been set.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MRBS). are funded to provide guidance and oversight of road safety in Ireland.

The overarching goal is to make Ireland the safest country in Europe for all road users - drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Road Deaths in Ireland

1959-1975

    1959 306
    1960 302
    1961 332
    1962 339
    1963 335
    1964 341
    1966 356
    1966 382
    1967 416
    1968 447
    1969 462
    1970 540
    1971 576
    1972 640
    1973 592
    1974 594

1975- 1995

    1975 586
    1976 525
    1977 583
    1978 628
    1979 614
    1980 564
    1981 572
    1982 533
    1983 535
    1984 465
    1985 410
    1986 387
    1987 462
    1988 463
    1989 460
    1990 478
    1991 445
    1992 415
    1993 431
    1994 404

1995 - 2010

    1995 437
    1996 453
    1997 472
    1998 458
    1999 413
    2000 415
    2001 411
    2002 376
    2003 335
    2004 374
    2005 396
    2006 365
    2007 338
    2008 279
    2009 238

2010 - present

    2010 212
    2011 186
    2012 162
    2013 188
    2014 192
    2015 162
    2016 185
    2017 156
    2018 142

In Ireland, since records began in 1959 the rate of annual deaths continued to rise until they peaked at 640 deaths in 1972 and subsequently decreased to 387 deaths in 1986.

Between 1986 and 2005 the number fluctuated before a period of significant reduction began. The total decreased by 59% from 396 in 2005 to all-time lows of 162 in both 2012 and 2015 and 156 in 2017.

2018 was the best year since records began with 142 road deaths recorded. The objective is to reduce road deaths to 124 by 2020 and ultimately to aim for zero deaths on our roads.

Road Safety Strategies

The reduction in fatalities in Ireland can be attributed to a number of key policies and actions set out in Ireland’s four Road Safety Strategies since 1998. These include:

  • the introduction of the national car test in 2000
  • the introduction of a penalty points system in 2002
  • the introduction of a safety camera network
  • increased enforcement through An Garda Síochána and the Garda Traffic Corps
  • the establishment of the Road Safety Authority and the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing in 2006
  • increased legislative sanctions for road and vehicle offences
  • significant investment in infrastructure resulting in safer motorways and other roads
  • focused road safety education and awareness programmes

Historical road safety campaigns

Educating the public about different aspects of road safety has been a large part of the government's role since the 1940s.

An interesting insight into the history of road safety promotion in Ireland is given by the following short films dating from 1949, commissioned by the Irish Government at the time and available since 14th September 2016 on the Irish Film Institute’s IFI Player. The films are ‘Mr Careless goes to town’ and ‘Safe Cycling’.

http://ifiplayer.ie/mr-careless-goes-to-town/

http://ifiplayer.ie/safe-cycling/

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