Road death statistics in Northern Ireland have fallen for the fourth consecutive year.
They are at their lowest since 2012, when 48 lost their lives.
But as provisional figures show that 55 died in 2018, the PSNI and Department for Infrastructure has reminded motorists to take extra care on the roads to reduce the number of lives needlessly lost.
The Department for Infrastructure says everyone has a shared responsibilityin 2019 to ensure their own safety and that of other road users.
The release of provisional figures on New Year’s Day by the PSNI shows that 55 people died in road tragedies during 2018, which is eight fewer people than last year.
Reflecting on the loss of life over the year, Katrina Godfrey, DfI Permanent Secretary said: “Road traffic collisions can have life-long consequences and this year has again seen lives lost and many hundreds more seriously injured.
“I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones and to those enduring life-changing injuries through road collisions.
“In 2018, road deaths have fallen for the fourth consecutive year but we need to continue to work together to make 2019 a better year on our roads.
“Too many people are still dying needlessly but road deaths are preventable. Regrettably, the evidence shows that more than nine in ten deaths and serious injuries on our roads are due to human error; caused by poor road user behaviour.
“Therefore we will only see a further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured if we all assume responsibility; slow down, never drink or take drugs and drive, pay attention and particularly look out for those who walk, cycle or ride a motorcycle as they are more vulnerable.
“Together it is our actions that will make a difference.
“The Department remains committed to improving road safety and continues to work closely with our road safety partners in the PSNI, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service and many other agencies to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives.”
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Despite the continuing downward trend and overall reduction in the number of people killed on our roads, one death is one too many.
“This reduction gives no consolation to 55 families across Northern Ireland, who are coming to terms with the death of loved ones killed in road traffic collisions during 2018. Many more people are fighting to recover or are learning to cope with life changing injuries.
“There is also a small group of people whose actions on the roads have caused death or serious injury. They not only have to live and cope with this knowledge, they may also be facing prosecution which could ultimately lead to imprisonment.
“Road safety is and will continue to be a key priority for police. It is a priority we all share.
“The simple reality is that many collisions can be avoided. 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.”
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