Road deaths in Ireland drop to record low in 2021

Road deaths in Ireland drop to record low in 2021

New statistics from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show the number of road deaths in Ireland dropped to a record low in 2021, making it the safest year since such data was first collected in 1959.

A total of 130 people died in 119 fatal road collisions in 2021, representing 16 fewer deaths or an 11 per cent drop when compared to the previous year.

The figures provided by the RSA follow an analysis of provisional fatal collision reports by An Garda Síochána.

Eighteen pedestrians were killed in 2021, the lowest number of pedestrian deaths in the last 25 years.

However, there were increases in fatalities among drivers and motorcyclists in 2021, up by seven and four respectively. Three in every four people killed on the roads were men.

The latest road fatalities included two men who died in separate crashes on Thursday night in counties Donegal and Dublin.

A man in his 20s was seriously injured in a two-car collision on the R236 in St Johnston, Dundee, Co Donegal and was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital, where he later died.

In Dublin a motorcyclist in his 30s died in a collision involving a car at the junction of Kimmage Road West and Whitehall Road in Terenure, Dublin 6. These deaths are reflected in the RSA’s records, as figures are accurate up to the afternoon of Friday, December 31st.

The latest fatalities brought the number of road deaths in the Republic and Northern Ireland this week to eight. Three young men died following a two-vehicle crash early on Monday morning in Co Tyrone. The RSA numbers do not include figures from the North.

‘Cause for concern’

RSA chairwoman Liz O’Donnell said while it was encouraging to see decreases in the number of passenger, pedestrian and cyclist deaths, the number of driver and motorcyclist deaths were “a cause for concern”.

Serious injuries as a result of collisions on the road were lower in 2021, down from 1,105 in 2020 to 1,091, provisional figures show.

But the number of serious injuries remained troubling and prevention needed to be “a focus for us all next year”, Ms O’Donnell said.

Sam Waide, RSA chief executive, said while a decrease in road deaths and serious injuries was welcome, “we must not accept 130 lives lost and 1,091 serious injuries on our roads”.

Assistant Commissioner with An Garda Síochána Paula Hilman said there were still “some drivers who continue to put not only their own lives but the lives of other road users at risk”.

In 2022 gardaí would focus on “the main life saver offences of speeding, driving under the influence of an intoxicant, non-wearing of seatbelts, using a mobile while driving and learner drivers driving unaccompanied,” she said.

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