04/01/2010

Deadly Year On NI Roads Outlined

A total of 115 people were killed on Northern Ireland's roads in 2009, according to provisional figures released today. This is eight people more than in 2008.

Commenting on the tragic figures Stormont Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: "The number of road deaths revealed today is disheartening. My sincere sympathy goes out to everyone who lost loved ones in collisions in 2009.

"The tragedy is that 115 people just like you and me were going about their normal business, presumably with hope, ambition and enthusiasm for the New Year ahead. But they didn't get the chance to fulfill their ambitions.

"The death of each one is tragic and will have brought enormous suffering to their families and friends," he said.

Mr Poots highlighted that road safety is one of his greatest priorities and that he is committed to ensuring that everything possible is done to prevent further deaths and serious injuries during 2010.

He added: "We will continue our sustained efforts, working in partnership with the PSNI, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service, to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives."

Mr Poots also expressed his concern that young males are still vastly over-represented in road fatalities and implored all young drivers to take extra care.

Drivers aged between 17 and 24 years old account for around 11% of our licensed drivers, yet were responsible for 38% of fatal collisions in recent years.

However, he welcomed the news that the number of child deaths have fallen from seven children in 2008 to four children in 2009.
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Referring to the overall trend, the Minister commented: "In 2000, 171 people were killed and if you look over the past decade, this has steadily declined to 107 in 2008 – which was the lowest ever on record.

"So, while the vast majority of us are heeding the road safety messages, there is a minority who are ignoring the warnings.

"There are still too many people dying needlessly on our roads. We will only see a further reduction in the number of people being killed if we all, whether as drivers, passengers or pedestrians assume personal responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others."

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, Head of the Police Service's Operational Support Department, added that 115 men, women and children died, each of these casualties represents untold heartache and devastation to many people.

"Hundreds more were seriously injured, many so badly hurt their lives will never be the same again.

"The tragic reality is that the vast majority of road traffic collisions are preventable, so we make absolutely no apology for adopting a robust approach to enforcement," he said.

"The figures demonstrate why our road safety campaign is so important, why we target dangerous and inappropriate driving. We need public support to ensure we hammer home the road safety message and protect those most at risk, such as our young and inexperienced road users.

"I would urge everyone travelling on local roads to do everything they can to ensure their journeys are safe this year. We all have a role to play in preventing deaths and injuries on our roads."

Of the deaths, there were 24 pedestrians killed, 46 drivers, 29 passengers and 16 motorcyclists.

(BMcC/GK)

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