The number of road fatalities in Northern Ireland has reached an eight-year high, new figures have revealed.
According to data from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), there were a total of 71 deaths on the country’s roads last year. This is a substantial increase from the 54 fatalities a year prior and the most since 2015 when the number reached 74.
The figures also state that there were 679 serious injuries last year. However, numbers for the final two months of the year have not yet been published, meaning this statistic could rise further.
Out of those who lost their lives, around half were vulnerable road users, including 13 motorcyclists, 19 pedestrians and two pedal cyclists, as well as 10 passengers.
Now, there are calls for more education on road safety. The charity Road Safe NI has launched its annual campaign focusing on vulnerable road users and common causes of road collisions.
Sam Donaldson, Chief Superintendent of the PSNI, said the figures are simply horrific: “Reducing deaths and serious injury on our roads is a priority for us, and we hope that our new initiative which highlights that people who sadly die on our roads are more than just a statistic, will offer people the guidance and information they need to ensure they always reach their destination safely.
“This number is simply horrific, and I appeal to all road users to learn about the steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe on our roads. As well as deaths, many people have suffered serious and life-changing injuries, demonstrating that as a society, road safety is something that needs to be taken more seriously.
“The responsibility for making our roads a safer place is one that we ALL share, remember the ‘Fatal Five’ – don’t drink or take drugs and drive; slow down; don’t be careless; always wear your seat belt and never use your mobile phone whilst driving.”