The Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report 2018 has been published today

Date published: 27 September 2018


These data provide the finalised National Statistics (NS) which track the 2017 position against the four targets and various key performance indicators contained in the Strategy.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is available on the ASRB website at:


In 2017:

  • There were 63 fatalities in road traffic collisions. This represents a reduction of 50% from the 2004-2008 Strategy baseline figure (126) and a fall of 7% from 2016.  This is the third 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 778 people seriously injured (SI) in road traffic collisions. This is 6% less than the number recorded in 2016 and 30% less than the baseline figure of 1,111. SI numbers rose dramatically by 16% between 2015 and 2016; however, it would appear this may just have been a temporary spike, with numbers in 2017 falling again. Despite the decrease in 2017, numbers are still 27% greater than the target of 611.
  • There were 68 children (aged 0 to 15) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) in road traffic collisions - 14 fewer than in 2016. This represents a reduction of 47% from the baseline figure (128) and is the lowest number recorded since the strategy began. However, the number of child KSIs recorded in 2017 is still 17% above the target of 58.
  • There were 177 young people (aged 16 to 24) KSIs in road traffic collisions, 50 (22%) fewer than the number recorded in 2016 and 52% below the baseline (366).  The number recorded in 2017 was the second lowest to date (one more than in 2013) and would now appear to be within imminent reach of the target (165).
  • Over the three year period 2015-2017, novice drivers (new drivers within 2 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, 105 people each year. This is similar to the previous reporting period but remains 51% below the 2008-2010 baseline average of 214 KSIs per annum.
  • The greatest proportion of these 105 KSI casualties (34%) 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, 16% 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 6 months after passing their driving test.
  • In 2017, 69% of vehicles exceeded the speed limits on built-up roads (all road types up to 40mph) under free-running conditions (11pm-7am) which is 2 percentage points higher than the rate recorded in 2016 and 5 percentage points higher than the baseline rate.  
  • On non built-up roads, the proportion of vehicles exceeding the speed limits, under free-running conditions, was greatest on dual carriageways (50%), followed by single carriageways above 40mph (23%) and motorways (14%). 
  • The corresponding non-compliance rates during the hours of 7am-11pm, when most travelling occurs and congestion serves to dampen vehicle speeds are: 39% on built-up roads, 30% on dual carriageways, 9% on single carriageways above 40mph and 12% on motorways.
  • Car users had the lowest rate of KSIs per kilometres travelled (3 KSIs per 100 million kilometres travelled by car or van) compared to other road user groups, and hence are at less risk. Motorcyclists had the greatest rate (211 motorcycle KSIs per 100 million kilometres travelled by motorcycle), with the rates for pedal cyclists (51 cyclist KSIs per 100 million kilometres cycled) and pedestrians (38 pedestrian KSIs per 100 million kilometres walked) falling in between.
  • Persons aged over 70 had 47 KSIs per 100,000 population (aged over 70). This rate remains unchanged from 2016, meaning the large increase that was experienced between 2015 and 2016 has been maintained.  Although the number of people over 70 killed or seriously injured in 2017 (92) was 18% greater than the baseline figure (78), due to the growth in this population group over the last decade, the 2017 rate was actually still 7% below the baseline (50.2).
  • There were 41 people killed in collisions on rural roads. The numbers recorded in 2017 are down 11% on 2016 (46), and are similar to the 42 recorded in 2015.  Fatalities on rural roads are now 56% below the baseline figure of 92.
  • There were 13 people killed in road traffic collisions where alcohol or drugs was attributed.  This is the lowest number recorded since 2012 and is a 43% decrease from 2016 (23). The rate in 2017 is now 53% below the baseline level of 28; however, the series has experienced significant rises and falls year on year making it difficult to establish a clear trend across the full period.
  • There were 235 KSIs resulting from collisions involving drivers under the age of 25.  This is an 11% decrease from the number recorded in 2016 (265) and is the lowest number recorded since 2013 (215).  Although numbers in 2017 are 45% below the baseline number (425), the rolling average shows that the historic downward trend began levelling off in 2011 and appears fairly stable in recent years.
  • The most common reason cited for feeling unsafe when walking by the road was that there was no footpath, with 36% of all Travel Survey[1] 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 28%, 28% and 26% respectively).
  • More than half of respondents (54%) felt unsafe when cycling due to heavy traffic, whilst a further 51% felt unsafe because of motorists driving without consideration of cyclists.

[1] Travel Survey for Northern Ireland, 2014-2016

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report, 2018 is the seventh 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: Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy until 2020.
  2. The report is typically based on the period 1 January to 31 December 2017. The report monitors the progress in 2017 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. With regards to the speeding KPI, free-running speed (as recorded between 11pm to 7am) 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: Road Safety Strategy to 2020 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 2019.  At this point the figures for 1 January to 31 December 2018 will be reported.
  8. Electronic copies of the Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report, 2017 are available at:
  1. For more information relating to this publication, including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact: Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch, Room 4.13c, Clarence Court, 10 - 18 Adelaide Street, Town Parks, BELFAST, BT2 8GB    
  1. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email or out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110 

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