A dramatic fall in the number of pedestrian casualties is the main reason why the number of fatalities on Irish roads in 2008 has been the lowest since records began.
With four days left, the provisional figure of 275 deaths is 57 fewer than the previous low of 332 in 1961, when road fatalities were first recorded. The number is 63 below last year’s total of 338.
So far this year 46 pedestrians have died, well down on the figure of 82 killed in 2007. By contrast the number of drivers killed in 2008 was 132, just six fewer than last year. The other big reduction was in the number of passengers who died, with the figure down from 70 in 2007 to 51 this year.
Brian Farrell, spokesman for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), said there has been a ‘sea change in driver behaviour and attitudes’ as well as an increased awareness of pedestrian safety. He also credited ‘engineering factors’ with helping to make roads safer for users.