Road deaths drop in 2017, but numbers are 'still a long way' off target

158 people died on Irish roads in 2017, according to the latest Road Safety Authority statistics.

That is a 15% drop in the number of road deaths recorded in 2016.

The figures also reveal last year was also the safest year on Irish roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959.

Previously, 2015 with 162 deaths, was the safest year on record.

Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, said: "While one death is one too many the only way we can measure success or failure in road safety is by recording the number of deaths on our roads. The drop in deaths in 2017 is a very welcome development.

"Whatever the reason for this decline, the main factor was ultimately as a result of the decision of every road user to change their behaviour for the better. For this I thank you.

"However, my great concern is that this downward trend will not be sustained in 2018 and beyond."

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the RSA, admitted that Ireland is still a long way from its road safety targets.

She said: "The strategy has set the task of making Ireland’s roads as safe as the best performing countries in the European Union. Specifically to reduce road fatalities on Irish roads to 124 or fewer by 2020.

"This means there must be a further 22% reduction in road deaths, on 2017 figures, over the next three years.

"While this will be a challenging target to achieve given our mixed road safety performance since 2013, its one that we must all strive to achieve through our continued efforts to implement the 144 road safety measures contained in the strategy."

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