Road deaths fall in N Ireland

The number of fatal car crashes in Northern Ireland in 2008 fell to the lowest level since records began almost 80 years ago, it has been revealed.

The number of deaths in 1972 was more than three times the current levels. In 2008 a total of 106 people were killed, seven fewer than in 2007, environment minister Sammy Wilson said.

But the number of child deaths has risen from five in 2007 to seven the following year. Of those deaths, four were passengers.

Mr Wilson said: "The figures released are the lowest total since records began in 1931.

"This continued improvement is due to our sustained efforts... to deliver a programme of road safety education, engineering and enforcement initiatives.

"Although the trend in road deaths is heading in the right direction, it must also be recognised there are still too many people dying needlessly on our roads."

Police Service of Northern Ireland Superintendent Roy Marshall warned that the authorities should not be complacent.

"The vast majority of road traffic collisions are preventable, so it is disappointing that, despite countless high-profile road safety operations and public awareness campaigns, a minority of drivers still continue to disregard the road traffic laws," he said.

Copyright © Press Association 2009