The number of people killed on Northern Ireland’s roads increased year-on-year by 39% in 2014, indicating a lack of progress towards reaching targets set out in Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRRS) to 2020.
Annual statistics released by Department of Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) also highlight the high risk of collisions involving young drivers.
In 2014 there were 79 fatalities in road traffic collisions, up from 57 in 2013 – the second successive year to show an increase. However, DoENI points out that this remains below the 2004/08 baseline figure of 126 fatalities.
The report reveals that there were 208 young people (aged 16-24 years) killed or seriously injured (KSI) in road traffic collisions during 2014, an 18% increase. In contrast, the number of child KSI casualties fell by 4% to 70. There were 710 serious injuries in road traffic collisions, a year-on-year decrease of 1%.
The report also reveals that during the three year period 2012-14, on average each year 126 other road users became KSI casualties as a result of collisions featuring an inexperienced driver who had passed their test less than two years prior to the incident. 41 of these KSI collisions involved a driver with less than six months post-test experience.
The annual publication reports progress towards NIRRS’s 2020 target, published in March 2011, which sets four key targets: to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities to 50, the number of serious injuries to 611, and child and young people KSIs to 58 and 165 respectively.
The report confirms that at the end of 2014 DoENI was not on course to meet any of these targets.
Mark Durkan, environment minister, said: “These statistics do not come as a surprise. They are though, for the first time, hard evidence that novice drivers are the most at risk on our roads.
“I welcome the overall decline in casualties. The figures released today clearly demonstrate that the first six months of driving is a crucial time. With a programme of training new drivers will gain the experience they need to become safer drivers.”