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‘Still too many dying needlessly’ says Department as 2017 road death toll revealed

95% of deaths and serious injury 'due to human error'

Sixty-three people died on Northern Ireland’s roads in 2017, according to provisional figures released today (Monday).

The figure is five fewer than 2016.

The information was released by the Department for Infrastructure as it once again encouraged all road users to take personal responsibility and “share the road in 2018” and ensure their own safety and that of other road users.

Reflecting on the loss of life on our roads this year, Head of the Department’s Safe and Sustainable Travel Promotion and Outreach team Lynda Hurley said: “The consequences of road traffic collisions endure for a lifetime and this year has again seen lost lives and heartbroken families.

“On behalf of the Department I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and those suffering serious injuries through road tragedy.

“While five fewer people have died than last year, every death is one too many – we need to work together to make 2018 a better year on our roads.

“PSNI data shows the persistent behaviours that lead to road collisions. The main problem areas, namely drink driving, speeding, carelessness and inattention and seatbelt wearing are things we as road users can control.

“The evidence shows that over 95 per cent of deaths and serious injuries on our roads are due to human error; caused by poor road user behaviour and are therefore preventable.

“Over-confidence and complacency pose enormous threats to road users so we must not let our guard down.

“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 or seriously injured if we all assume personal responsibility; whether as drivers, riders, passengers or pedestrians, for our own safety and the safety of others. Together it is our actions that make a difference.

“The Department is continuing its sustained efforts, working with road safety partners, the PSNI, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service and the many other agencies to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives to improve road safety.

“The Department remains committed to doing all that it can to prevent the needless deaths on our roads and as such, calls on everyone to help make Road Safety a personal New Year’s resolution.”

Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray said while the determined and collaborative efforts of many individuals and partner agencies have helped deliver an overall reduction in the number of people killed on roads across Northern Ireland, one death is one too many.

She added: “Sadly, in 2017, 63 families across Northern Ireland are coming to terms with the loss of loved ones who have died due to road traffic collisions. The impact goes much further and many more are adapting and learning to cope with life changing injuries.

“There is also a small group of people who know their actions on the roads have caused death or serious injury. They not only have to live and cope with this knowledge, they may also be facing prosecution.

“Road safety is and will continue to be a key priority for police. It is a priority we all share. The simple reality is that many collisions can be avoided.

“So slow down; pay greater attention to your surroundings; leave the mobile phone alone; always wear a seatbelt and NEVER ever drink or take drugs and drive.”

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