Department for Infrastructure – Road safety is a shared responsibility

Date published: 31 December 2018


The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is reminding everyone of our shared responsibility as we use the road in 2019 to ensure our own safety and that of other road users.

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The release of provisional figures today by the PSNI show 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.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Provisional figures released today by PSNI show that in 2018 there were 55 deaths on roads in the north of Ireland as a result of road traffic collisions (up to 09:00 on 20/12/2018).  This compares to 63 in 2017 and 68 in 2016.
  2. A total of 591 have been seriously injured until 31 October 2018. This is a decrease from 657 at 31 October 2017.  A final total will not be confirmed by PSNI until spring 2019.
  3. In 1931 there were 114 road deaths and this number increased over the years before peaking in 1972 with 372 deaths.  The number of road deaths then gradually reduced during the late 1970s and the 1980s before levelling off with around 155 deaths per year during the 1990s.  Road deaths then decreased during the 2000s, dropping from 148 fatalities in 2001 to 115 in 2009 before the numbers more than halved in 2010 (55 fatalities) with similar numbers recorded in 2011 (59 fatalities).  The lowest figure of 48 deaths was recorded in 2012, increasing to 57 in 2013, 79 in 2014, 74 in 2015, 68 in 2016 and 63 in 2017. 55 road deaths is equal to that recorded in 2010, which is the second lowest road death rates since records began in 1931.
  4. 14,966 people have lost their lives on our roads since records began in 1931 and 78,817 have suffered serious injuries since serious injuries were first recorded in 1971.  (The serious injuries figure does not include 2018 as this will not be confirmed until mid-2019 although it is expected to be several hundred).
  5. Road user fatalities in 2018, by category, are as follows;
    Pedestrian 16
    Driver 23
    Passenger 8
    Pedal Cyclist 1
    Motorcyclist 7
    Pillion Passenger 0
    Other Road User 0
    TOTAL 55
  6. There were three child (under 16) fatalities recorded in 2018, one less than in 2017 and 201
  7. Below is a snapshot of road death trends at various years from 1931 to present day.
    Year – Total
    1931 – 114
    1945 – 124
    1953 – 163
    1964 – 219
    1969 – 257
    1972 – 372
    1982 – 216
    1990 – 185
    2000 – 171
    2009 – 115
    2010 – 55
    2011 – 59
    2012 – 48
    2013 – 57
    2014 – 79
    2015 – 74
    2016 -  68
    2017 – 63
    2018 - 55
  8. Some of the activities the Department for Infrastructure has engaged in during 2018 include:
  • The Department continues to use TV and social media as the main communication channels. The website includes information on road safety but also a facility for users to register to pledge to share the road to zero by inputting their details.  This represents a personal commitment to be the best road user that you can be by adopting positive road user behaviours to help prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads.  This pledge then places them on a mailing list to receive a weekly e-mail with road safety advice and campaign messages.  Followers on Facebook and Twitter receive a daily tweet and Facebook post with road safety advice and Highway Code rules.
  • The Department continues to provide a range of resources and schemes to be used by teachers to allow them to improve road safety behaviours in children and young people. 
  • The Department continued working in partnership with the PSNI, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the NI Ambulance Service to deliver a programme of road safety education and enforcement initiatives.
  • The Department continued to work closely with other organisations to deliver the road safety message at local levels.
  • While DfI has responsibility for road safety, many partners have contributed to work during 2018.
  1. To pledge to share the road to zero road deaths, visit
  2. For media enquiries please contact DfI Press Office. Tel 028 9054 0007 or email Out of office hours contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110


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