The Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report 2016

Date published: 29 September 2016

The NIRSS to 2020 annual statistics are now available. These data provide the finalised National Statistics (NS) which track the 2015 position against the four targets and various key performance indicators contained in the Strategy.

ni road safety strategy to 2020 annual statistical report

Key points

In 2015 in the north of Ireland:

  • There were 74 fatalities in road traffic collisions. This represents a reduction of 41 per cent from the 2004-2008 baseline figure (126), and a reduction of 6 per cent from 2014.  Despite this recent small fall, fatalities have been generally increasing again since the historic low of 48 achieved in 2012. The 2020 target is to have 50 or fewer, fatalities on our roads.
  • There were 711 serious injuries in road traffic collisions. This is one more than the number recorded in 2014 but still represents an overall reduction of 36 per cent on the 2004-2008 baseline figure (1,111). The longer term downward trend, however, now appears to be levelling off. The 2020 target is to have 611 or fewer, serious injuries on our roads each year.
  • There were 72 children (aged 0 to 15) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) in road traffic collisions, 2 more than in 2014. Whilst this still represents an overall reduction of 44 per cent from the 2004-2008 baseline figure (128), again there are signs that historic reductions may now be tailing off. The 2020 target is to reduce the number of children KSIs on our roads to 58 or less.
  • There were 197 young people (aged 16 to 24) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) in road traffic collisions. This is a 5 per cent decrease from last year, following a large 18 per cent increase from the series low (176) recorded in 2013, and represents a reduction of 46 per cent from the 2004-2008 baseline figure (366). The 2020 target is to reduce the number of young people KSIs on our roads to 165 or less.
  • Over the three year period 2013-2015, novice drivers (new drivers within two years of passing their ‘category B’ driving test) were involved in road traffic collisions that resulted in the death or serious injury of, on average, 108 people each year. This represents an 11 per cent decrease from the equivalent annual average number of KSIs recorded during the 2012-2014 period (122), and is almost half (49 per cent) the 2008-2010 baseline average of 214 KSIs per annum.
  • During 2013-2015 the highest proportion of the 108 KSI casualties (32 per cent) were from collisions that involved a driver within six months of passing their test.  This is compared with 22 per cent from collisions involving drivers within both 7-12 months and 13-18 months of passing their test, and 25 per cent from collisions involving drivers within 19-24 months of passing their test. This highlights the increased risk associated with new drivers in the first 6 months after passing their driving test.
  • In 2015, over two thirds (68 per cent) of vehicles exceeded the speed limits on built-up roads (all road types up to 40mph) under free-running conditions, which equals the previous series high recorded in 2012.  This rate is up by 2 percentage points from 2014 and 3 percentage points from the 2010 baseline level.
  • On non built-up roads, the proportion of vehicles exceeding the speed limits was greatest on dual carriageways (45 per cent), followed by single carriageways above 40mph (24 per cent) and motorways (17 per cent). 
  • The corresponding non compliance rates during the hours of 7am-11pm, when most travelling occurs and congestion serves to dampen vehicle speeds are: 45 per cent on built-up roads, 27 per cent on dual carriageways, and 10 per cent on single carriageways above 40mph. There was no change on motorways.
  • In 2015, there were 183 pedestrian KSIs, which is a rate of 37.9 per 100 million kilometres walked.  Although this is 27 per cent below the 2004-2008 baseline rate of 51.6, it is an increase of 17 per cent on the previous year’s rate (32.5).
  • The number of car user KSIs was 458, and although this represents 10 more KSIs than last year and 31 more than 2013, it is still lower than the numbers recorded prior to 2013. The rate of car users killed or seriously injured in 2015 was 2.6 per 100 million kilometres (cars and vans), 45 per cent below the 2004-2008 baseline of 4.7 per 100 million kilometres. The underlying downward trend in this indicator had greatly slowed by 2013 and has since shown signs of levelling off.
  • There were 69 people aged over 70 who were killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions.  This was a drop of 10 per cent from 2014 (77).  The rate per 100 thousand population at 37.0 represents a 13 per cent reduction from 2014 (42.4) and a 26 per cent reduction from the 2004-2008 baseline (50.2).
  • There were 42 people killed in collisions on rural roads. Following a sharp 53 per cent increase from 2013 to 2014 (36 to 55), the number fell again,  by 24 per cent compared to 2014, bringing it back to the level recorded in 2010.  It is currently over half (54 per cent) the 2004-2008 baseline level of 92. The longer term decreasing trend may now be levelling off.
  • There were 15 people killed in road traffic collisions where alcohol or drugs was attributed.  This is a reduction of almost one-third (32 per cent) from the number recorded in the previous year, reversing the large increase recorded between 2013 and 2014 and is 46 per cent below the baseline level of 28. Again, however, the underlying reducing trend is beginning to plateau.
  • There were 243 KSIs resulting from collisions involving drivers under the age of 25.  This is a 6 per cent reduction from the number recorded in 2014 (259) and although it remains 43 per cent below the baseline number (425), the downward trend has been levelling off since 2011.
  • A newly included Road Safety Perception indicator revealed that the most common reason cited for feeling unsafe when walking by the road was that there was no footpath, with 37 per cent of all Travel Survey[1] respondents giving this answer. Over a quarter said that motorists driving without care for pedestrians, traffic travelling above the speed limit and heavy traffic made them feel unsafe (all with similar percentages of 29, 28 and 27 per cent respectively).
  • More than half of respondents (55 per cent) felt unsafe when cycling due to heavy traffic, whilst half of respondents (50 per cent) felt unsafe because of motorists driving without consideration of cyclists.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report, 2016 is the fifth publication in the lifetime of the reporting on the targets and KPIs set out in the Road Safety Strategy to 2020. Further information on the Strategy is available at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-road-safety-strategy-until-2020.

2. The report is typically based on the period 1 January to 31 December 2015. The report monitors the progress in 2015 of the targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) set out in the NIRSS.  The targets and indicators are measured against a baseline of the 2004-2008 average figures (unless otherwise stated).

3. There are four principal targets and a suite of twenty key performance indicators (KPIs) which currently underpin the road safety strategy.  Many of the indicators are calculated as a rate in order to properly take account of the changing level of exposure, and hence risk, attached to the subject group.  

4. This report details progress to date on the four key targets and across the strategy’s KPIs.  A number of the indicators, when reported by single year, show a lot of volatility. In these cases an additional figure reporting on a five year rolling average (or smoothed trend) has been included to give a clearer indication of which direction the underlying trend is moving.

5. A new indicator, measuring Road Safety Perception, has been included in the report this year for the first time. The data were collected from the Travel Survey for Northern Ireland, 2012-2014.

6. Following an independent assessment by the UK Statistics Authority, the report received National Statistics accreditation in September 2016, demonstrating that it meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.

7. The next update of this publication will be in September 2017.  At this point the figures for 1 January to 31 December 2016 will be reported.

8. Electronic copies of the Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report, 2016 are available at:

For more information relating to this publication, including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Room 4.36,
Clarence Court,
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks
BELFAST, BT2 8GB 

Media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

[1] Travel Survey for Northern Ireland, 2012-2014

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