Page last updated at 06:40 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Road death toll lowest on record

Road closed sign

The number of road deaths in Northern Ireland in 2008 was the lowest since records began almost 80 years ago.

A total of 106 people were killed on NI roads last year, according to provisional figures released by the Department of the Environment.

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson said the improvement was due to working on "education, engineering and enforcement initiatives" with other agencies.

But he added: "There are still too many people dying needlessly on our roads."

The figure of 106 compares to 147 road deaths in 2004; 171 in 2000; 372 in 1974 and 114 when figures were first compiled in 1931.

Mr Wilson said, while the drop in the overall road death figures was encouraging, there were "still a number of alarming trends".

'Slow down'

"The number of child deaths has risen from five in 2007 to seven in 2008 and of those deaths, four were passengers," said the minister.

"I would, therefore, remind all parents to ensure their children are always safely secured while travelling, no matter how short the journey."

During 2007, there was a dramatic increase in the number of motorcyclist deaths to 25.

While the number of deaths in this category fell to 15 last year, motorcyclists continue to be over-represented in the statistics.

Superintendent Roy Marshall said all road users "must accept their responsibility for their actions."

"Every single road user can take the simplest steps, which will dramatically reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads," said Superintendent Marshall.

"Slow down, pay greater attention and concentrate while driving or riding a motorbike.

"Always wear a seatbelt and never, ever drive or ride a motorbike after taking drink or drugs."

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