Road deaths in the first half of 2023 are the worst for six years – RSA

  • Trend could mean Ireland loses up to 168 lives on our roads by year-end
  • Twenty-three 16–25-year-olds killed up to 26 July – this age-groups makes up one in four road deaths
  • 10% increase in road deaths compared to the same period in 2022

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have issued a stark warning that years of road safety progress is being undone as new figures reveal that road deaths in the first half of 2023 are the worst for six years. 95 road deaths have occurred so far this year (as of 26 July 2023), an increase of 9 compared to last year. The RSA is warning the Irish public that, should current trends continue, as many as 168 lives will be lost on our roads this year.

Data made available from a Preliminary Analysis of Road Traffic Fatalities by the RSA (as of 26 July 2023) has highlighted a number of worrying trends, including:

  • Twenty-three young people aged 16-25 have lost their lives so far this year.
  • Almost the same number of 16-25 year olds killed (23) in the first half of 2023 as with same period in 2021 and 2022 combined (26).
  • Almost half (49%) of all deaths on the roads occurred at night-time (8pm-8am), when the roads are at their quietest.
  • Three counties (Galway – 11, Mayo – 10, and Cork – 9) accounted for almost one third of all fatalities.

As of this morning (01 August) there have been 100 deaths on the road. This is an increase of 11 fatalities compared to the same date last year.

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are appealing to all road users to be more vigilant on our roads.

Commenting on the findings, Sam Waide, CEO, RSA said: “The figures released today are alarming. Clearly, the progress we have made in road safety over the last number of years is at risk. The evidence suggests that as a society we are losing momentum when it comes to road safety – with tragic consequences. If this continues, we could see 168 homes with an empty place at their table this Christmas time.

We all have a duty – all parts of society and every road user – to do everything we can to reverse this trend and save lives. I hope today can mark the start of a fightback from all of us to regain the progress we had made and make the second half of 2023 safer for all road users.”

 Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said: “Road deaths are a tragedy for all affected. The figures published today starkly demonstrate that. An Garda Síochána are fully committed to playing our part in the comprehensive approach required to promote road safety and reverse the trend we are seeing in 2023. At both national and local level to working with road safety partners, local authorities, and communities, we are focussing on road safety design and engineering, technology, education, and targeted enforcement. Every fatality on our roads is one too many. We will play our part in keeping the roads safe for all.”

 Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, RSA, added: “We all need to reflect on these figures and re-evaluate our own behaviours and habits as a result. The smallest distraction, the temptation to get there quicker or to relax our vigilance can lead to the most awful consequences. Taking simple road safety steps can have a potentially life-saving impact such as putting away the mobile phone when driving and driving within the speed limit. It is within all our power to prevent further lives being lost. We need everyone to adopt that spirit of collective action to help us reverse the devastating pattern of road trauma and save lives.”

The RSA is intensifying existing public education and awareness campaigns which target the main contributory factors for deaths, and serious injuries, and target high-risk groups. This includes increased targeting of the younger male cohorts and upweighting regional advertising and education efforts to increase the impact on Cork, Galway and Mayo.

A full version of Preliminary Analysis of Road Traffic Fatalities report (as of 26 July 2023) is available online here.