Mallon: Road safety – We all have an individual responsibility

Date published: 01 January 2021


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.

Image of DfI Minister Nichola Mallon
DfI Minister Nichola Mallon

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 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 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.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. Provisional figures released today by PSNI show that in 2020 there were 56 deaths on roads in the north of Ireland as a result of road traffic collisions (up to 11.50 pm on 30/12/2019).  This compares to 56 in 2019 and 55 in 2018.
  2. A total of 492 have been seriously injured until 31 October 2020. This is a decrease from 652 at 31 October 2019.  A final total will not be confirmed by PSNI until spring 2021.
  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, 62 people in 2017, in 2018 55 people lost their lives.
  4. 15,078 people have lost their lives on our roads since records began in 1931 and 79,547 have suffered serious injuries since serious injuries were first recorded in 1971.  (The serious injuries figure does not include 2020 as this will not be confirmed until Spring 2021 although it is expected to be several hundred).
  5. Road user fatalities in 2020, by category, are as follows;
    Pedestrian 6
    Driver 26
    Passenger 9
    Pedal Cyclist 4
    Motorcyclist 8
    Pillion Passenger 1
    Other Road User 2
    TOTAL 56
  6. There were three child (under 16) fatalities recorded in 2020, two more than in 2019 and the same as in 2018.
  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 – 62
    2018 – 55
    2019 – 56
    2020 – 56  
  8. Some of the activities the Department for Infrastructure has engaged in during 2020 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.
  • DfI 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 2020.
  1. To pledge to share the road to zero road deaths, visit: Share the Road to Zero
  2. The Highway Code is available to download free on nidirect: Highway Code - Downloadable version   
  3. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.


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