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Road deaths so far this year just one short of 2022’s total

Irish road deaths this year are now just one short of the total recorded during 2022, a grim reality that indicates a “reversal of progress” in road safety efforts, Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers has said.

The rising levels of deaths and serious injury has continued to prompt concern, given last year’s total of 155 was itself considered an unwelcome spike on prior trends.

As of this week, there have been 154 lives lost during the year, an increase of 36 or almost a third on the same period last year.

The trend this year has been shocking, Mr Chambers said. “We have seen a reversal of the significant progress we have made from a road safety perspective this year.”


The Minister was speaking at the launch of the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) bank holiday appeal for safe driving which this year focuses on pedestrian deaths.

“We’ve seen a very worrying rise in the number of pedestrians who have lost their lives – 38 so far this year – and that’s tracking to be the highest number in 15 years. That’s of significant concern that vulnerable road users have been particularly impacted.”

According to RSA data, the total number of pedestrian fatalities to date is just five fewer than last year. However, this could soon worsen given the increased likelihood of pedestrian deaths during autumn and the winter months.

“When we look at last year, half of the pedestrian fatalities unfortunately occurred in the last three months of the year so we know we’re moving into those higher risk periods,” said Assistant Garda Commissioner for roads policing Paula Hilman.

Last year, three people were killed over the October bank holiday weekend and a further 16 suffered serious injury. This year’s bank holiday roads enforcement push will run from 7am on Thursday to 7am on Wednesday, taking in Halloween night.

Speed is a factor in deaths keenly pushed by the RSA – while just 5 per cent of pedestrians hit at 30km/h die, the number rises to 90 per cent when speeds reach 80km/h.

“There has been a really concerning trend in 2023,” said the RSA’s chief executive, Sam Waide. “And not just serious injuries [and] fatalities but it’s also collisions and there have been a number of times where there have been multi-vehicle collisions. Unfortunately, there have been multiple deaths involved.”

Under pressure from rising fatality rates, both the RSA and Government have been moving toward new legislation and campaign initiatives to bring the numbers under control and steer them back toward Vision Zero, an EU-wide policy that would see all deaths eradicated by mid-century.

As part of those efforts, Government approved a 20 per cent increase in Go Safe speed van usage. In September there were 600 additional hours, which will increase to 1,000 in October and is expected to reach 1,500 per month by December.

“We are also already looking at the new year. We are looking at those counties that have the highest number of road deaths as well,” Ms Hilman said.