"Significant majority" of road fatalities in 2021 occurred on rural roads, according to RSA
82% of deaths occurred on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or higher.
A "significant majority" of road fatalities in 2021 occurred on rural roads, according to the Road Safety Authority's (RSA) 2021 review.
The RSA and An Garda Síochána have published a provisional review of progress in road safety up to 15 July, 2021, revealing that from 1 January to 15 July, 2021, 65 people died on Irish roads in 60 collisions.
To date in 2021, a total of 71 people have died on Irish roads, 7 less than the same period in 2020.
The review also revealed that there have been 12% fewer collisions and 12% fewer deaths compared to provisional Garda data for the same period in 2020.
The number of fatalities occurring at the weekend also decreased by a quarter when compared to 2020's figures.
A significant majority of the fatalities happened outside of urban areas, with 82% of deaths occurring on rural roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or higher.
The review also found that 406 people were seriously injured in collisions, with pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists accounting for almost half of all serious injuries at 199.
12pm and 4pm was found to be the riskiest time for Irish road users with 59% fewer fatalities occurring between midnight and 8am compared to the same period in 2020.
“Any reduction in lives lost on Irish roads is to be welcomed, however, the increase in fatalities on rural roads is very concerning," Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton said on Monday.
"Behavioural changes due to the pandemic, such as remote working, are visible in the collision patterns this year.
"The traditional rush hour periods are less pronounced in the road safety statistics compared to pre Covid-19 and we have seen a huge drop in collisions happening overnight."
Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority added that while deaths may have decreased this year, the deaths for 2020 mean that Ireland has now went from being the second safest country in the European Union (EU) to the fifth.
“While road deaths may be down this year, it should be viewed against an increase in deaths in 2020," he said.
"Deaths fell in most European countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, but not in Ireland. As a result, Ireland has slipped from second safest country in the EU 27 to fifth.”