Published Friday, 03 January 2014
There was an increase in road deaths in 2013. (© Pacemaker)
Commenting on the total of 56 road deaths in 2013, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said that reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on Northern Ireland's roads is vital.
"I extend my sympathy to those who have lost loved ones through road tragedy in 2013," he said.
"I know myself from personal experience that the pain of such a loss is deeply felt by families, friends and communities for a long time; indeed, forever. I say again today, every death is one too many."
Until 2010 the number of road deaths had never dropped below 100, but over the last decade they had been decreasing steadily to an all time low of 48 in 2012.
Mr Durkan continued: "Even though the overall picture shows that fewer lives are being lost than in the past, it is disheartening that eight more people died in 2013 than the year before.
"Together we have made enormous strides in road safety. Many hundreds, even thousands of lives have been saved from death and serious injury by road users here adapting their behaviour over time and doing the right thing.
"But complacency poses an enormous threat to these achievements. The cruel reality of road death is that normal, everyday life can turn to tragedy in a split second."
Our ambition is now that of zero road deaths and I urge all road users in Northern Ireland to commit to sharing the road to zero.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan
Mr Durkan said he would be proactive along with road safety partners in 2014 to tackle the causes of deaths and serious injuries.
He added: "These will include, subject to Executive approval, introduction of the Road Traffic Amendment Bill to take further steps to tackle those who choose to drink and drive, and to address the tragic over-representation of young people in road death statistics."
PSNI Head of Operational Support Department, Superintendent David Moore explained: "One death is one too many and road safety will remain a priority for the police throughout 2014.
"Our preliminary figures indicate that 56 people have been killed on the roads in Northern Ireland. While that's eight more than in 2012, it is still one of the lowest figures recorded in 70 years.
"However, these statistics are cold comfort to each of the families and communities about to start a new year, either missing loved ones who have died, or for those coping with life changing injuries, particularly when most of these collisions could have been avoided.
Superintendent Moore added: "I want all road users to think about the consequences to yourself and your family of being involved in a serious collision. How would you feel if your actions resulted in you or one of your family being paralysed? How would you feel if some innocent person was killed?
"If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then more people would live. It really is that simple."
© UTV News