THE Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is reminding everyone of our shared responsibility in 2020 to safeguard our own safety and that of others, however we choose to travel on our roads.
The release of provisional figures by the PSNI show that 54 people died in road tragedies during 2019.
Reflecting on the loss of life over the year, Katrina Godfrey, DfI Permanent Secretary, said: “In 2019, 54 people have had their lives cut short and hundreds more have been seriously injured on our roads.
“While in overall terms road deaths have fallen for the fifth consecutive year, the statistics mask the simple truth that every serious road traffic collision brings life-long consequences for families across Northern Ireland.
“I wish to offer my sincere sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones in 2019 and to those who endure life-changing injuries through road collisions.
“The majority of people are now doing the right things resulting in 2019 having the second lowest road deaths since records began in 1931. Evidence shows that most road deaths are avoidable, as more than nine in ten deaths and serious injuries are due to human error.
“If we all take that extra second on our journey to consider our actions as we drive, ride or walk, we could see a further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured.
“The Department is actively committed to improving safety on our roads and continue 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 historical downward trend, far too many people are killed or seriously injured on our roads every year.
“The simple reality is that many collisions can be avoided. Not paying full attention, poor positioning on the road, excess speed for the conditions and people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remain the most common causes of the most serious collisions which kill and injure people.
“Road safety will remain a key priority for all police officers. We are on duty across the country looking for road users taking dangerous and unnecessary risks, but we all share the responsibility for road safety.
“So if you are driving, slow down; pay greater attention to your surroundings and look out for other road users; leave the mobile phone alone; always wear a seatbelt and NEVER ever drink or take drugs and drive.
“If you are a pedestrian, whether using a footpath, walking along a country road or simply crossing the road, please always be aware of your surroundings. And if you are a cyclist or motorcyclist, please ensure you put your safety first. As we start a new year, please resolve to have a greater focus on road safety, so we can prevent collisions and save lives.”
The provisional figures released by PSNI show that in 2019 there were 54 deaths on roads in Northern Ireland as a result of road traffic collisions (up to 09:00 on 31/12/2019). This compares to 55 in 2018 and 63 in 2017.
A total of 639 had been seriously injured up to 31 October 2019. This was an increase from 604 at 31 October 2018. A final total for the full year will not be confirmed by PSNI until spring 2020.
In 1931 there were 114 road deaths and this number increased over the years before peaking in 1972 with 372 deaths.
The number of road deaths then gradually reduced during the late 1970s and the 1980s.
Road deaths then decreased during the 2000s, dropping from 148 fatalities in 2001 to 115 in 2009 before the numbers more than halved in 2010 (55 fatalities) with similar numbers recorded in 2011 (59 fatalities).
The lowest figure of 48 deaths was recorded in 2012, increasing to 57 in 2013, 79 in 2014, 74 in 2015, 68 in 2016, 62 people in 2017, while 55 people lost their lives in 2018.
15,020 people have lost their lives on our roads since records began in 1931 and 79,547 have suffered serious injuries since serious injuries were first recorded in 1971. (The serious injuries figure does not include 2019 as this will not be confirmed until mid-2020 although it is expected to be several hundred).
Road user fatalities in 2019, by category, are as follows;
Pedal Cyclist 2
There was one child (under 16) fatality recorded in 2019, two less than in 2018 and three less than 2017.
Below is a summary of road death trends at various years from 1931 to present day.
Year – Total
1931 – 114
1945 – 124
1953 – 163
1964 – 219
1969 – 257
1972 – 372
1982 – 216
1990 – 185
2000 – 171
2009 – 115
2010 – 55
2011 – 59
2012 – 48
2013 – 57
2014 – 79
2015 – 74
2016 – 68
2017 – 62
2018 – 55
2019 – 54