Road Safety Week – There’s no need to speed

Date published: 16 November 2020

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Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today urged drivers and riders to slow down and reduce their speed on the road. Minister Mallon made the appeal as Road Safety Week gets underway (16 to 22 November).

Image for No Need to Speed Campaign

Minister Mallon said:

“Excessive speed for the conditions is one of the main causes of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads. The Department for Infrastructure is collaborating with road safety partners in the emergency services to remind drivers and riders that there is ‘No Need to Speed’.

“We must challenge, and disrupt attitudes of people who think that it is safe to speed.  No one can foresee the unexpected. Whatever the circumstances of any collision, whether on a rural or urban road, speeding always makes the consequences worse.

“We all must be mindful that speed limits are set as an absolute maximum and that the weather and conditions need to be taken into consideration when driving on any road. Speed does not need to be high to kill or seriously injure.

“Over the last five years, 56 people have lost their lives here due to ‘excessive speed having regard to the conditions’. Many, many more have been seriously injured.

“Road safety is important for every single road user all year round, not just for this week. We all have a personal responsibility to drive or ride in a way that keeps ourselves and others safe in our community. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in collisions. This could be the difference between life and death. So please slow down, take extra care around our schools and act responsibly on every journey.”

PSNI T/Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said;

“Speeding, drink or drug driving and inattention are consistently the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured on roads across Northern Ireland.

“Police will continue to robustly enforce the law to make our roads safer, but everyone shares the responsibility to prevent deaths and injuries. Drivers and riders must slow down, pay greater attention to their surroundings, NEVER ever drive or ride a motorbike after drinking or taking drugs and whether you are a driver or passenger, always wear a seatbelt.  Pedestrians and cyclists also need to be aware of their surroundings and particularly at this time of year, make every effort to been seen by wearing reflective or hi-vis clothing.”

Paddy Gallagher, Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: 

“So far this year, up to the end of October, our Firefighters have attended 451 road traffic collisions and rescued 317 people from their vehicles. Sadly they witness first-hand the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as a consequence of irresponsible road user behaviour and in particular speed. 

“We are all responsible for road safety – we all have a responsibility to ‘Share the Road to Zero’ and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to ease the pain, loss and suffering to individuals, families and communities caused by road traffic collisions.

“Please slow down - one life lost is one too many.” 

Rosie Byrne, Director of Operations with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said:

“Speed remains one of the biggest killers on our roads. Excessive speed is no accident, it is a decision to drive faster than road and traffic conditions allow. It is also a decision to drive beyond your capabilities. Unfortunately if you have an accident when driving too fast, you are much less likely to walk away from it unscathed. Ambulance crews witness too many incidents where lives are lost and families are devastated as a result of decisions to speed. We ask you all, especially at this time of the year, to slow down and consider others when using the road. It is better to arrive late and alive, than to not arrive at all.”

During Road Safety Week, from 16 to 22 November, DfI with road safety partners, the PSNI, NIFRS and the Ambulance Service, will work to raise awareness of our personal responsibility to behave appropriately, every day, on every journey.

Notes to editors: 

  1. A total of 15,074 people have been killed on roads in Northern Ireland since deaths were first recorded in 1931.
  2. A total of 52 people have lost their lives on the road this year (correct as of Thursday 12 November).  This compares to 44 at the same time last year and 49 for 2018.
  3. Over the past five years, 18% (56) of fatalities in the last five years (2015-2019) were attributed to, 'Excessive speed having regard to the conditions'. That is 56 people whose lives were lost forever. Over two-thirds (68%) of these fatalities from speeding occurred on rural roads and they were overwhelmingly male. 77% of all fatalities attributed to excessive speeding over the last five years were male.
  4. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates. Source: Speed, Speed Limits and Accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994.
  5. 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 150 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 virtually halved in 2010 (55 fatalities) with similar numbers recorded in 2011 (59 fatalities). Before 2010, road deaths had never dropped below 100 but it has not gone back above this level ever since. There were 56 road deaths recorded in 2019 with the lowest figure of 48 deaths being recorded in 2012.
  6. Share The Road to Zero is a huge road safety community programme with one aim – zero road deaths on our roads. More than 20,000 people here have pledged to Share the Road to Zero. Pledge here: www.sharetheroadtozero.com  
  7. The Highway Code is available to download at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/highway-code-downloadable-version
  8. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquires between 1800 hrs and 800 hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  10. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.

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