Drivers across Ireland have been urged to support the fourth UN Global Road Safety Week, which ran from 8th to 14th May.
The campaign aims to reduce the number of road traffic accidents and associated road deaths and injuries by increasing understanding and awareness of the dangers posed by driving too fast. It is being supported by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Speed Contributes to Many Fatal Accidents
Speed is a contributing factor in around one-third of all fatal road traffic crashes in high-income countries, and up to half in low- and middle-income countries.
Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that around 1.25 million people die every year on the world’s roads and that typically 40–50% of drivers will drive faster than posted speed limits. Drivers who are male, young and under the influence of alcohol are more likely to be involved in speed-related crashes and, tragically, road traffic crashes continue to be the number one cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years.
"Speed is at the core of the global road traffic injury problem," explained WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "If countries were to address just this key risk, they would soon reap the rewards of safer roads, both in terms of lives saved and increases in walking and cycling, with profound and lasting effects on health."
Ireland’s Accident Figures
In 2016 the RSA published the results of an analysis of garda forensic investigations into fatal crashes in the Republic of Ireland between 2008 and 2012, which revealed that 322 people died, and 74 were seriously injured in collisions where excessive speed was a contributory factor. It also found that excessive speed for the road and conditions was a main contributory factor in a third of fatal crashes.
As many as 54 people have already been killed in road traffic accidents in the Republic of Ireland to date in 2017. Although this is nine less than the same period in 2016, the figures still amount to an alarming loss of life on the country’s roads.
Drivers Urged to Slow Down
“In an emergency you need time and space to allow you to stop your car safely,” commented Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross. “You simply cannot do this if you are travelling too fast for the road and conditions. It’s also a law of physics that the faster you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in a collision and the more likely the outcome will result in death or injury.”
“Even speeds a driver considers low can be lethal for vulnerable road users,” he added. “For example, hit at 50km/h a pedestrian or cyclist has only a 50% chance of survival. My message to drivers is to slow down, drive at a speed that is appropriate to the conditions, and remember a speed limit is not a target.”
If you have been injured in a road traffic accident and would like to find out more about claiming compensation, then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.