'Appalling' start to 2022 as year-to-date road deaths almost double in Ireland

'Appalling' start to 2022 as year-to-date road deaths almost double in Ireland

THE ROAD Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are issuing an urgent road safety appeal to all road users to take extra care while driving over the Easter Bank Holiday as latest figures show that 50 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date this year.

That figure is up from 29 in the same period as last year, with the 21 more deaths being described as "unnecessary" and causing "heartache for families and friends."

While the RSA and An Garda Síochána have issued a general appeal for road users to take greater care on the road this Easter Bank Holiday, there will also be focus on drug driving. An Garda Síochána figures for the full year 2021 saw over 3,300 arrests for Drug-Driving. The number of arrests in 2022, up to 31 March, is 768.

Analysis by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) shows that cannabis and cocaine remain the most detected drugs in drivers on Irish roads. In 2021, 57% of specimens tested for drugs contained cannabis, 31% contained cocaine and 14% were found to have benzodiazepines.

Same Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said the increase in road deaths is "appalling".

"An average of 15 people have been killed each month on the road to date this year. If we continue on this path, we could end up losing 180 lives this year. Ireland is in danger of having the highest number of road fatalities in a decade. If we all act now and improve our behaviour on the road, collectively we can avoid this preventable loss of life."

Ms Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport also said the increase in road deaths this year "is deeply concerning".

"We must all take action to reverse this trend by taking greater care when using the road – especially over the high-risk Easter Bank Holiday period. Four people died and eight were seriously injured over the Easter bank holiday last year."

She said the government is "continuing to prioritise lifesaving legislation such as the current Road Traffic and Road Bill" and is spending approximately €1 million every day on infrastructure to support safe active travel.