Police issue road safety appeal as deaths on roads increase
A “shocking” rise in the number of people killed on the roads in Northern Ireland has forced police to issue an urgent road safety appeal.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said there have already been 46 deaths this year – a jump of 18 compared with the same period in 2022.
Now the force is urging drivers to slow down, pay attention and stop taking risks.
Earlier this month, a driver was arrested after being stopped travelling at 104 mph while under the influence of alcohol.
And a restricted (R) driver, who are limited to a maximum speed of 45mph, was caught driving at 96mph.
Chief Inspector Graham Dodds, head of road policing at the PSNI, said: “Tragically, 46 people have already lost their lives on our roads this year. That is 18 more compared to the same time period last year, which is quite shocking.
“Many more people have suffered serious and sometimes life-changing injuries. Every time you hear about a fatal or serious collision on the news, there is a family, a circle of friends, a community plunged into mourning.
“These figures show that we as a society we are still not taking road safety seriously enough. The responsibility for making our roads a safer place remains one that we all share.
“Inattention and speed, or more accurately, excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving, are consistently the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured on roads in Northern Ireland.”
He added: “It is shocking that on just one day alone, Saturday August 12, one driver was arrested after being stopped travelling at 104 mph – he was also found to be under the influence of alcohol. A restricted (R) driver was prosecuted for driving at 96mph when the maximum speed they should have been travelling at was 45mph.”
Chief Insp Dodds said speeding is not just a low-level crime, “it is dangerous”.
“It is a serious threat to other road users,” he said. “Speeding causes crashes. In a crash the most vulnerable thing on the road is you.
“Removing excess speed from the road safety equation should be the easiest thing that every road user can do.
“If we all stop speeding, more people live. If we all stop speeding, fewer people have to contend with life-changing injuries.”
Chief Insp Dodds said reducing deaths and serious injury on the roads is a “policing priority”.
“We will continue to target the small minority of people who continue to disregard the laws, whether speeding, driving without due care and attention, not wearing seatbelts, driving after taking drink or drugs, or driving while using a mobile telephone,” he said.
“We all share the responsibility to prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”