Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has issued a reminder today that we all have an individual responsibility to take extra care as we share the roads.
Minister Mallon made the appeal as the release of provisional figures today by the PSNI show that 56 people died in road tragedies during 2020, which is the same number as the previous year.
Reflecting on the loss of life over the year, Minister Mallon said: “I am very aware that too many people have tragically died on our roads in 2020, with many more seriously injured. I offer my sincere sympathies to those families and friends who have lost loved ones; and to those who endure life-changing injuries as a result of a road collision.
“2020 has been an unusual year due to the global pandemic. It is disheartening that, with less traffic on the roads during the year, the same number of deaths have still occurred compared to 2019.
“Evidence shows that most road deaths are avoidable, as more than nine in ten deaths and serious injuries are due to human error.
“However we choose to travel, we each have a responsibility to ourselves and others to do so safely. If we all take that extra second on our journey to consider our actions as we walk, ride or drive, we could see a further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured.
“Through my Department I am actively committed to improving safety on our roads and continue to collaborate with our road safety partners in the PSNI, the Fire & Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service and many other agencies to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives.”
Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said: “Despite the downward trend and overall reduction in the number of people killed on our roads in recent years, one death is one too many.
“Across Northern Ireland, the sad reality is that there are families and communities that begin the New Year as they come to terms with the death of loved ones killed in road traffic collisions during 2020. Many more people are fighting to recover from, or are learning to cope with, life changing injuries.
“There is also a small group of people whose actions or omissions on the roads have caused death or serious injury. In addition to living with this knowledge, they may also be facing prosecution which in the most serious instances, could ultimately lead to imprisonment.
“Road safety will continue to be a key priority for police. It is a priority we all share, so slow down; pay greater attention to your surroundings; leave the mobile phone alone; always wear a seatbelt and NEVER ever drink or take drugs and drive.”