Number of people killed on Irish roads drops

However the number of DUI arrests is up

Number of people killed on Irish roads drops

File photo

A review of road fatalities for the first half of the year shows 77 people died on Irish roads in 72 collisions.

This is a decrease of 10 deaths and 12 collisions, when compared to the same period last year.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have published a provisional review of road fatalities from January to June 2017.

The deaths breakdown to 34 drivers, 11 passengers, 16 pedestrians, six motorcyclists and 10 pedal cyclists.

The figures show cyclist deaths have doubled to 10 from five during the same period in 2016.

The RSA has warned that if the current trend continues, up to 78 more people could die before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the number of arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are up 18% to 4,450 from 3,787 in 2016.

Each month so far this year has seen more arrests than the same month last year - with April (901) and May (801) showing the highest arrest levels for at least three years.

"Wholly unacceptable"

Commenting on the review, Transport Minister Shane Ross says: "The statistics revealed today are somewhat bittersweet. While the decrease in road deaths so far this year is to be welcomed, it remains wholly unacceptable that 77 people died on Irish roads so far in 2017.

"I am encouraged by the enforcement activity of An Garda Síochána in the first six months of 2017.

"A visible garda presence on our roads is a key factor in changing the behaviours of road users for the better and clearly shows gardaí have been enforcing our life saving road legislation."

Director of road safety research with the RSA, Michael Rowland, adds: "The fact that 10 fewer people died on Irish roads in the first six months of this year compared to 2016 is to be welcomed but we must not become complacent.

"If the current monthly average were to continue, 78 more people could die by the end of 2017.

"We must do all we can to prevent as many of those lives as possible being lost."

Mr Rowland says the "significant increase" in cyclist deaths and casualties is particularly concerning.

"Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road-users, yet many drivers do not demonstrate enough caution and awareness when sharing the road with cyclists.

"Drivers need to pay greater attention to their speed and provide adequate space when passing cyclists.

"Likewise, I would encourage cyclists to ensure they too are obeying the rules of the road and wearing reflective clothing and helmets at all times."