ROAD deaths in Co Kildare have continued to decrease year-on-year, according to provisional figures released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). In total, 149 people lost their lives on Irish roads last year, seven fewer than in 2017. Four fatalities occurred in Kildare in that time – compared to five in 2017 and seven in 2016.
The overall figures represent a record low for road fatalities across the country – initial statistics highlight a 4% drop in road deaths throughout 2018, the safest year since they were first recorded in 1959. Although deaths have decreased among drivers, passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists, 10 more pedestrian deaths were recorded in 2018.
Minister for Transport Shane Ross has described the figures as “marginally improved” but “not good enough”. Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, has said that funding should be made available to gardaí to roll out new smartphone and in-vehicle technology – also known as the Garda Mobility Project – which would allow gardaí to check drivers’ licence and insurance status at the roadside.
“The introduction of this mobile technology will revolutionise road traffic policing and needs to be given the highest priority in 2019,” she said.
Road users were urged to change their behaviour at a Kildare Co Council and AXA road safety roadshow in Newbridge last month. Among those speaking at the event, which was attended by 600 transition year students from the county, was National Ambulance Service paramedic Michael Rogers who talked about how avoidable deaths and injuries are.
“What gets to me is how avoidable all these collisions are, however minor or serious, and they all lead to needless deaths and serious injuries. That’s the worst part about all of this,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what type of road user you are, we are all at risk, all because of incidents which can be avoided. I would ask every person to do the right thing, the safe thing and be more responsible and safe on the roads.”