THE number of people killed on Irish roads has increased to its highest number in six years.
New figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have revealed that there were 100 road deaths up to August 1, 2023 – 11 more than during the same period last year, and the highest number since 2017.
The RSA has warned that if the same trend continues for the rest of the year, 168 lives would be lost in total on Irish roads.
The alarming figures were released as the devastated families of two teenage girls who were killed in a car crash while travelling to a debs ball struggle to come to terms with the horrific tragedy.
Close friends Kiea McCann, 17, and Dlava Mohammed, 16, lost their lives when the vehicle they were travelling in collided with a tree just outside Clones, Co. Monaghan on Monday evening.
In a sobering statement released alongside the new data, the RSA admitted it was “losing momentum” in regards to road safety – “with tragic consequences”.
A further breakdown of the new data revealed that most fatal smashes took place at night time between 8pm and 8am when there is less traffic on the roads.
The worst counties for road fatalities were identified as Galway, Cork and Mayo, where collectively one-third of all deaths were recorded.
Out of 95 people who lost their lives on Irish roads between January 1 and July 26, another breakdown reveals there were 39 were drivers, 18 were passengers, 22 were pedestrians. 13 were motorcyclists, while there were two cyclists and one e-scooter user.
Of those, 23 were young people aged between 16-25 – this age group accounting for one in four road deaths.
The RSA also noted a big gender difference in the data, with 78 males and 17 females making up the road death tally.
Commenting on the findings yesterday, RSA CEO Sam Waide said: “The figures released today are alarming.
“Clearly the progress we have made in road safety over the last number of years is at risk. The evidence suggests that as a society we are losing momentum when it comes to road safety – with tragic consequences.
“If this continues we could see 168 homes with an empty place at their table this Christmas time.”
He added: “We all have a duty – all parts of society and every road user – to do everything we can to reverse this trend and save lives.
“I hope today can mark the start of a fightback from all of us to regain the progress we had made and make the second half of 2023 safer for all road users.”