November 29, 2023

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Comparison Between Road Deaths and New Car Sales Decline in Ireland

The total number of road deaths for 2011 was 186. This is a 14{5c4d531f50b705cb76082034c39cb335df474a3b828d613bd2826cfdf0db1d3b} decrease on the 2010 figures which were 212. This is a reduction of 50{5c4d531f50b705cb76082034c39cb335df474a3b828d613bd2826cfdf0db1d3b} in the total number of fatalities since 2007.

The boxes below show the breakdown and were released by the RSA.

These are the figures of 2011 Compared to 2010
There were 45 pedestrians killed in 2011 and 44 in 2010.
There were 82 Drivers killed in 2011 and 91 in 2010
There were 33 Passengers killed in 2011 and 55 in 2010
There were 17 Motorcyclists killed in 2011 and 17 in 2010
There were 9 Cyclists killed in 2011 and 5 in 2010
The Total for 2011 was 186 and in 2010 it was 212.

This is great news for the families of all those people who were saved this year. Hopefully with extra vigilance this trend will continue.

While the main reason given for the decrease in the number of road deaths has been the introduction of speed cameras, a penalty points system, reduced alcohol tolerances, on the spot breath checks a new learner driver training system, an extensive TV advertising campaign highlighting the dangers of speed and dangerous driving, driving road shows and better education. Strangely little has been mentioned about the recession and the resulting decrease in the amount of driving individuals are doing compared to 2006/2007.

If one looks at the decrease in the number of new cars sales in 2011 compared to 2007, there were 186,540 cars sold in 2007 while 89,900 new cars were registered last year in Ireland. This shows a decrease of just over 50{5c4d531f50b705cb76082034c39cb335df474a3b828d613bd2826cfdf0db1d3b} which is almost the same as the drop in the number of road fatalities over the same period 2007-2011. Has this comparison been explored to see is there a link which at first glance seems to be very similar?

While no one wishes to discredit any of the road safety work which has been carried out over the last few years to help reduce the number of road deaths in Ireland. Is it not food for thought knowing the similarities in the reduction in the amount of new cars sold in 2011 and the number of fatalities in 2011. The drop in car sales over the last four years is markedly close to the drop in the number of road deaths over the same period. As I have only researched this drop in figures in Ireland I do not know if this comparison can be made in any other countries, but I would like both the time and the money to do so.

These figures have played on my mind for some time and as yet I have not seen any research to either confirm or discredit my theory. It would be interesting if this was done. It should be kept in mind that with the increase in fuel costs and car insurance it stands to reason that drivers are more careful in how often they use their cars. Parents are not insuring their children on their car insurance policies as often. Drivers are looking for alternative methods of travel, so it makes sense to believe that even though there are as many cars on the road they are not being driven on the road as much. This could be another reason for the reduction in these road fatalities since 2007, the same year the recession began!