ROAD deaths in Clare have seen an 83% reduction since 2007. This places Clare in the top five counties in terms of the reduction in road deaths.
The first year-on-year increase in the number of fatalities since 2005 came in 2013 and has been revealed in a recently published report by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
The publication looks at the number of road deaths in each county in Ireland, from 2007 to 2013, which placed County Clare in the top five safest counties, with the fewest number of fatalities.
The report, entitled 2007 To 2013 Road Traffic Deaths by User Type and County, highlights the reductions in road fatalities in Clare between 2007 and 2013.
However, while this statistic is a step in the right direction, tragically, since 2007, 23 drivers, three motorcyclists, two cyclists and eight pedestrians have been killed on roads in the county.
Commenting on the report, Clare’s Chief Superintendent, John Kerin, said while the statistics were welcome, he would rather see a statistic reflecting no road traffic fatalities.
“While we are delighted with the results, it is a fact that there are still two deaths a year for the last four years occurring and that’s eight people killed. Our wish would be that there would be none but, in the overall scheme countrywide, it is low,” he said.
Asked if he could attribute the county’s good record in this regard to any particular campaign locally, Chief Supt Kerin said a number of factors come into play.
“It is acknowledged that the road traffic enforcement levels in the Clare division are among the highest, if not the highest in the country. Per ratio of gardaí, we have the highest enforcement levels. That is a strong contributory factor.
“The other contributory factor is that the ordinary motorists are becoming much more aware of their responsibilities as regards speeding and drunk driving and we thank the public for that.
“The engineering developments, such as the improvement of roads and new road networks are certainly a contributory factor and we do liaise closely with Barry Keating, the road safety officer for Clare County Council, on this.
“We also do a lot of work with the schools, with transition-year classes, in particular, whereby we replicate fatal and serious accidents and we leave an indelible mark on their minds about the consequences of it. All that work, together, helps the situation,” he concluded.
Also commenting on the County Clare findings in the report, Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, said, “The reduction in the number of road deaths in Clare shows just what can be achieved when communities come together.
“Change happens at local level and, in every community, town and county in Ireland, we must all collectively accept greater responsibility for our own safety by becoming custodians and champions for safety on the road.
“I urge everyone to keep road safety top of your mind every time you use the road – as a motorist, motorcyclist, cyclist, pedestrian or passenger,” she said.
Clare showed one of the lowest road deaths last year, with two fatalities in the county, both of whom were car-users, compared with 12 road deaths in 2007.
Nationally, in the period 2007 to 2013, there was a 44% reduction in road fatalities.
Clare and Louth recorded the biggest decrease in road deaths. Kildare and Monaghan are the only counties where fatalities increased between 2007 and 2013.
Reductions in deaths were observed in all user categories, with the highest reduction in pedal cycle (67%), goods vehicle (66%) and pedestrian (62%) casualties.
The highest number of car-user deaths last year was in Cork (14), followed by Donegal, Kerry and Kildare, where nine car-users lost their lives.
The highest number of pedestrian fatalities occurred in Dublin (7), Galway (4) and Mayo (3).
The highest motorcyclist fatalities were in counties Kildare, Meath (four in each county), Dublin and Wicklow (three in each county).
Ireland’s Fourth Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020 sets out to reduce road deaths to 124 or fewer per annum by the end of 2020.
By Carol Byrne