Today Sunday, 15 November marks ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’, a day when commemorations take place globally to remember the victims of road traffic crashes and their families.
This year marks 25 years since the first Day of Remembrance was observed in 1995. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will mark the day by hosting a special ceremony to be broadcast on its Facebook page at 2pm on Sunday, 15 November.
24,526 people have died in fatal crashes in Ireland since the recording of fatalities began in 1959. This is equivalent to losing the population of the town of Carlow. Over 80,000 people have been seriously injured on Irish roads since the recording of serious injuries began in 1977.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Hildegarde Naughton said: “World day of Remembrance for Road Traiffc Victims is an opportunity for us all to not only remember those who have been killed or injured on our roads but to also remember their families.
"We should remember too the health care workers who tend to victims and the members of the Emergency Services who are at the front line of road safety, often the first on the scene of a road traffic incident. I would like to pay tribute to all their hard work, constant professionalism and the care and support they offer to both victims and families.”
Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority said,
"24,526 people have been killed and over 80,000 people have been seriously injured on Irish roads since we began recording these figures. The sheer size of the death toll and serious injuries suffered is staggering. The devastation that these incidents wreak on victims, their families, friends and communities is incalculable. The tragedy is worsened as it is mainly the young and healthy, those in the prime of life and supporting their families, who are killed. On Sunday we remember these people and their families. But I would also urge everyone to use it as an opportunity to think about how you could use the road more safely.
Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said:
"While the current pandemic has made marking this year’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims more challenging across the country, events are happening online. For example, we are inviting the public to join us on our Facebook page at 2pm this Sunday, 15 November, for a virtual ceremony to remember the victims of road trauma, their families and the emergency services. The event will feature a special performance by Liam Lawton, award-winning multi-platinum singer-songwriter.”
Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, National Roads Policing Unit, An Garda Síochána said: “World Day of Remembrance is a time for each one of us to reflect on our own behaviour on the roads and how that impacts on the safety of other road users. It is a time for us to remember those who have died on our roads as a result of road traffic collisions. The Day is also a time for self-reflection on how we use the roads ourselves. Every time you sit behind the wheel, get on your bicycle or motorbike, or head out for a walk, consider what you can do to improve your safety on the roads. On this day we also pay tribute to our dedicated front-line staff, the Gardaí, emergency crews and medical professionals that deal with the aftermath of these collisions.”
The United Nations designated the third Sunday in November as World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims. It is now recognised across the world and this year marks the 14th year it has been held in Ireland.
Global Commemoration livestream will be hosted by the World Health Organisation on Friday, 13 November at 1pm Irish time. To register visit worlddayofremembrance.org/
The RSA is also promoting ‘World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims’ with a radio advertising and social media campaign.
An initiative by Local Authorities will see Council buildings across Ireland ‘light up for road safety’ on Sunday 15 November, as part of this year’s ‘World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims’.
A list of other activities including those organised by Local Authorities and Victim Support Groups can be found on the RSA website.
To date in 2020 a total of 127 families, friends and communities have lost a loved one on Irish roads. This is an increase of 11 deaths compared to the same date last year.