THE Cork West Garda division had the highest number of road deaths in the entire country last year, with 11 fatalities recorded, according to the latest garda statistics.
This worrying trend, which was outlined at last week’s meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC), has alarmed garda bosses who are urging drivers to be extra vigilant this year.
The fatalities recorded in the Cork West division were in marked contrast to the Cork City division, which recorded one fatal accident last year (resulting in two deaths), while one fatality was recorded for Cork North. There was also a marked increase of 45 in reports of non-serious injuries arising from collisions in the Cork West division for 2022, compared to 2021.
Chief Supt Tom Myers of the Cork City division said last year was a very bad year for fatal accidents and highlighted a recent collision in Innishannon which claimed the life of acclaimed sports broadcaster Paudie Palmer.
‘We had 11 fatal traffic collisions in the Cork West division for 2022 and it was the highest in the entire country. It’s very sad for all the families involved,’ he said. ‘2023 hasn’t been good so far, either, in relation to fatal collisions and we need to reverse that trend, especially in Cork West.’
Newly-appointed Chief Supt Vincent O’Sullivan, covering both Cork West and Cork North divisions, said that of the 12 fatalities in the county, 10 were males, which were made up of two motorcyclists, one mobility scooter and seven were motor vehicle drivers. Two female pedestrians were also killed and the average age of victims killed in collisions last year was 54.5 years, said Chief Supt O’Sullivan.
He said there is no age discrimination when it comes to fatalities on roads, with three of the deceased aged between 18 and 35, while five were aged between 51 and 69.
Chief Supt O’Sullivan said that two of those fatalities occurred between the hours of midnight and 7am, while nine fatalities occurred between 7am and 7pm. Six out of the 12 cases involved single vehicle collisions, where the driver was fatally injured.
There were three fatalities in the Macroom region within one week in November alone, where two female pedestrians lost their lives, while one motorist also died.
‘What we are trying to get out there to the public is never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reduce your speed. A lot of this is down to driver behaviour and bad decision making and losing 12 live s in 2022 is very distressing for everyone, including the first responders and the gardaí who have to inform families.’
He indicated that gardaí would be visiting more schools this year to educate young people with the aid of crash simulators.