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

Date published: 24 September 2020

The NIRSS to 2020 annual statistics are now available. These data provide the finalised National Statistics (NS) which track the 2019 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: Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy 2020 Annual Statistics

Key Points

In 2019:

  • There were 56 fatalities in road traffic collisions. This represents a reduction of 55% from the 2004 to 2008 Strategy baseline figure (126), and an increase of 2% from 2018.  This increase brings to an end the consecutive reduction in fatalities over the previous four years; however, it is just six above the 2020 target of 50.
  • There were 774 people seriously injured (SI) in road traffic collisions which is 6% more than the number recorded in 2018 and 30% less than the baseline figure of 1,111. SI numbers have fallen considerably since the baseline, dropping as low as 710 in 2014 before rising again by 16% to 828 between 2015 and 2016; however, it would appear this may just have been a temporary spike, with 2019 having 7% fewer people seriously injured than in 2016. Despite this decrease from 2016, numbers in 2019 are still 27% greater than the target of 611.
  • There were 71 children (aged 0 to 15) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) in road traffic collisions – eight more than in 2018. This represents a reduction of 44% from the baseline figure (128), but is still 22% above the target of 58.
  • There were 173 young people (aged 16 to 24) KSIs in road traffic collisions, the same number as recorded in 2018 and 53% below the baseline of 366. This is the joint lowest recorded since the strategy began and if, as expected, the coronavirus reduces the overall number of KSIs next year, the target of 165 could be met.
  • Over the three year period 2017-2019, 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, 108 people each year. This represents a 9% increase from the 99 average number of KSIs recorded during the 2016-2018 period but is 49% below the 2008-2010 baseline average of 214 KSIs per annum.
  • The greatest proportion of these 108 KSI casualties (31%) were from collisions that involved a driver within six months of passing their test.  This compares with 23% from collisions involving drivers within 7-12 months, 20% 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 2019, over two thirds (67%) of vehicles exceeded the speed limits on built-up roads (all road types up to 40mph) under free-running conditions (11pm-7am). This is the same proportion as recorded in 2018 which is 3 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 (45%), followed by single carriageways above 40mph (24%) and motorways (17%). 
  • The corresponding non-compliance rates during the hours of 7am-11pm, when most travelling occurs and congestion serves to dampen vehicle speeds are: 35% on built-up roads, 27% on dual carriageways, 11% on single carriageways above 40mph, and 17% 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 (260 motorcycle KSIs per 100 million kilometres travelled by motorcycle), with the rates for pedal cyclists (61 pedal cycle KSIs per 100 million kilometres cycled) and pedestrians (35 pedestrian KSIs per 100 million kilometres walked) falling in between.
  • People over the age of 70 had 50 KSIs per 100,000 population. This rate is 28% above that recorded in 2018. Although the number of people over 70 killed or seriously injured in 2019 (104) was 25% greater than the baseline figure (78), due to the growth in this population group over the last decade, the 2019 rate actually works out to be the same as the baseline (50.2).
  • There were 34 people killed in collisions on rural roads which represents the series low. Fatalities on rural roads numbers in 2019 are down 6% on 2018 (36), and are now 63% below the baseline figure of 92.
  • There were 12 people killed in road traffic collisions where alcohol or drugs was attributed.  This is two fewer than was recorded in 2018 and is the lowest number recorded since 2012.  The number in 2019 is 57% 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 233 KSIs resulting from collisions involving drivers under the age of 25.  This is a 7% increase from the number recorded in 2018 (218). Although numbers in 2019 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 34% of all Travel Survey respondents giving this answer. Approximately a quarter said that heavy traffic, motorists driving without consideration, and traffic travelling above the speed limit made them feel unsafe (all with similar percentages of 28%, 25% and 25% respectively).
  • More than half of respondents (55%) felt unsafe when cycling due to heavy traffic, whilst 48% 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, 2020 is the ninth 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 to 2020.
  2. The report is typically based on the period 1 January to 31 December 2019. The report monitors the progress in 2019 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 to 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 11.00 pm to 7.00 am) 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. The report also recently underwent a compliance check which confirmed that these statistics should continue to be designated as National Statistics.
  7. The next update of this publication will be in September 2021.  At this point the figures for 1 January to 31 December 2020 will be reported which will reflect the final position of each target and KPI in the Strategy.
  8. Electronic copies of the Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report are available at: Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy to 2020 statistics
  9. 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,
BT2 8GB     
  1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at:
  2. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.


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