14 November 2022
As Road Safety Week (14 – 20 November) gets underway all road users are reminded of our personal responsibility and the potential impact of our actions on those we share the road with.
As individuals we need to be mindful at all times of other road users – people who walk, cycle, motorcycle, drive, ride a horse as well as passengers in vehicles. The Department for Infrastructure is collaborating with the emergency services in Northern Ireland to urge everyone to be aware of the particular vulnerabilities we all face when we travel.
Julie Harrison, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Infrastructure said:
“Tragically this year to date 46 people have lost their lives in road traffic collisions and hundreds more people have been seriously injured. This has a huge impact on the families and friends of those who lost their lives and on the wider community.
“We know that more than nine out of ten road traffic collisions are due to human error. While the Department and our road safety partners can work together to educate, engineer and enforce, each of us as individuals has to take personal responsibility for our attitudes and behaviours when we travel. We can all make a difference.
“Please take a moment to think about the injuries people receive in collisions or the difficulty of having to break shocking news to road victims’ families. The devastating consequences have far-reaching and life-long effects. Please respect other road users to help share the road to zero deaths here.”
Almost all road traffic collisions are caused by people, mostly drivers, behaving carelessly/inattentively, dangerously or simply ignoring the law. The main causes of collisions continue to be driver carelessness/inattention, speeding, drink/drug driving. Failure to wear a seatbelt in the event of a collision increases the likelihood of death or life changing injury.
Most of these collisions are avoidable. By challenging ourselves to address these four main problems in our own behaviour, road deaths and serious injuries would be reduced and more people would be saved from death or serious injury.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said:
“Our plea is for everyone to take personal responsibility for road safety. We see far too often the devastating impact of serious and fatal road traffic collisions and how lives are changed in an instant.
“As drivers, we all have a part to play in making our roads safer for everyone. This means slowing down, looking after our vehicles, never driving after taking drink or drugs, not using a mobile phone when driving, and always wearing a seatbelt.
“The consequences of causing serious injury or worse, death, due to speeding, or checking a message on your phone are simply not worth it. If we all drive with much greater care, we can play our part in helping save lives.”
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Aidan Jennings said:
“Our Firefighters are regularly called to attend road traffic collisions to rescue people from their vehicles, and like our colleagues in the other emergency services we witness far too often the lives completely devastated as a consequence of road traffic collisions.
“All road users have a personal responsibility to do all they can to ease the pain, loss and suffering caused by road traffic collisions. Please reduce your speed, always wear your seatbelt, and be aware of how bad weather might impact driving conditions.”
Rosie Byrne, Director of Operations with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has appealed to all road users to act responsibly on the roads, saying:
“The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service responded to over 3,500 Road Traffic Incidents in the past year. These calls involved all types of road users including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Our crews have witnessed, at first hand, the life changing impact of many of these calls, too many of which actually result in the loss of life.
“I would call on all those who use our roads to remember that we all share responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others. If we are aware of the dangers posed by speed, careless driving and inattention we can take steps to ensure that we do not add to the statistics which reflect the pain and anguish felt by families as a result a loved one being involved in a road traffic collision.
“At this time of the year when nights are getting darker, weather conditions are getting worse and the festive period is fast approaching, I would ask you to please take care of yourself and others when using the roads and stay safe.”