The Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report 2017

Date published: 28 September 2017

The NIRSS to 2020 annual statistics are now available. These data provide the finalised National Statistics (NS) which track the 2016 position against the four targets and various key performance indicators contained in the Strategy.

Publication of Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2012-2014 headline report

The publication is available on the ASRB website at:

Key points

In 2016 in Northern Ireland:

  • There were 68 fatalities in road traffic collisions. This represents a reduction of 46% from the 2004-2008 Strategy baseline figure (126), and a fall of 8% from 2015.  This is the second year in a row to see a reduction in fatalities, following two years of increasing numbers since the historic low of 48 in 2012. The 2020 target is to have 50 or fewer, fatalities on our roads.
  • There were 828 serious injuries in road traffic collisions. This is 16% more than the number recorded in 2015 and, although this still represents an overall reduction of 25% on the baseline figure (1,111), it is the highest number recorded since 2010.  The 2020 target is to have 611 or fewer, serious injuries on our roads each year.
  • There were 82 children (aged 0 to 15) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) in road traffic collisions, 10 more than in 2015. Whilst this still represents an overall reduction of 36% from the 2004-2008 baseline figure (128), there are signs that historic reductions are now reversing. The 2020 target is to reduce the number of children KSIs on our roads to 58 or less.
  • There were 227 young people (aged 16 to 24) KSIs in road traffic collisions. This represents a reduction of 38% from the 2004-2008 baseline (366); however, the figure reported in 2016 is a 15 per cent increase from last year. The 2020 target is to reduce the number of young people KSIs on our roads to 165 or less.
  • Over the three year period 2014-2016, novice drivers (new drivers within two years of passing their ‘category B’ driving test) were involved in road traffic collisions on Northern Ireland roads that resulted in the death or serious injury of, on average, 113 people each year. This is similar to the previous reporting period but remains 47% below the 2008-2010 baseline average of 214 KSIs per annum.
  • The greatest proportion of these 113 KSI casualties (32%) were from collisions that involved a driver within six months of passing their test.  This compares with 24% from collisions involving drivers within 7-12 months, 18% from collisions involving drivers within 13-18 months, and 26% from collisions involving drivers within 19-24 months of passing their test. This highlights the increased risk associated with new drivers in the first six months after passing their driving test.
  • Two thirds (66%) of vehicles exceeded the speed limits on built-up roads (all road types up to 40mph) under free-running conditions (11pm-7am) which, although 2 percentage points lower than the rate recorded in 2015, is still one percentage point higher than the 2010 baseline. 
  • On non built-up roads, the proportion of vehicles exceeding the speed limits, under free-running conditions, was greatest on dual carriageways (46%), followed by single carriageways above 40mph (23%) and motorways (21%). 
  • The corresponding non compliance rates during the hours of 7am-11pm, when most travelling occurs and congestion serves to dampen vehicle speeds are: 42% on built-up roads, 25% on dual carriageways, 9% on single carriageways above 40mph, and 17% on motorways.
  • Car users had the lowest rate of KSIs per kilometres travelled (4 KSIs per million kilometres travelled by car or van) compared to other road user groups, and hence are at less risk. Motorcyclists had the greatest rate (219 motorcycle KSIs per kilometres travelled by motorcycle), with the rates for pedal cyclists (65 cyclist KSIs per kilometres cycled) and pedestrians (36 pedestrian KSIs per kilometres walked) falling in between.
  • Persons aged over 70 had 47 KSIs per 100,000 population (aged over 70) representing a 27% increase from 2015 and is the greatest year on year increase across the series. Despite this, the 2016 rate was still 7% below the baseline.
  • There were 46 people killed in collisions on rural roads. Aside from a spike of 55 recorded in 2014, it is the highest number recorded since 2010. It remains, however, 50% below the baseline figure of 92 fatalities.
  • There were 23 people killed in road traffic collisions where alcohol or drugs was attributed.  This is the highest number recorded since 2009 and is a 53% increase from 2015.  It still remains 17% below the baseline level of 28 but more recent figures suggest that the historic downward trend may now be beginning to reverse.
  • There were 265 KSIs resulting from collisions involving drivers under the age of 25.  This is a 9% increase from the number recorded in 2015 and is the highest number recorded since the 288 in 2010.  Although it remains 38% below the baseline, the historic downward trend began levelling off in 2011 and appears to be increasing in recent years.
  • The most common reason cited for feeling unsafe when walking by the road was that there was no footpath, with 37% of all Travel Survey respondents giving this answer. Over a quarter said that motorists driving without care for pedestrians, heavy traffic and traffic travelling above the speed limit made them feel unsafe (all with similar percentages of 29%, 28% and 27% respectively).
  • More than half of respondents (55%) felt unsafe when cycling due to heavy traffic, whilst a further 51% 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, 2017 is the sixth 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:

2. The report is typically based on the period 1 January to 31 December 2016. The report monitors the progress in 2016 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. The 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. With regards to the speeding KPI, free-running speed (as recorded between 11.00pm to 7.00am) is considered to be the speed at which vehicles will travel when they are unimpeded by other vehicles. It is considered a truer reflection of a motorist’s speeding behavior and, in the absence of congestion, would generally be higher than a 24 hour or daytime speeding rate. For further information on this, and all other indicator specifications and definitions, please see the Indicator Guidance Booklet:

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 2018.  At this point the figures for 1 January to 31 December 2017 will be reported.

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

9. Additional Information

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, 

10. 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 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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