THE number of road deaths in Limerick fell by a massive 60% last year to a record low.
Official garda figures show that just five people died following fatal collisions during all of 2012.
This compares to 15 road deaths in Limerick during 2011, 18 in 2010 and 23 in 2009.
Of those who died last year, two were pedestrians, two were drivers and one was a rear-seat passenger in a car which was in collision with another vehicle.
All of those who died were male and aged between six and 62.
Two of the fatal accidents happened in the Newcastle West garda district and there was one in each of the Askeaton, Bruff and Roxboro districts.
Four of the accidents involved just one vehicle and for the first time in a number of years there were no multi-fatality collisions.
“A ferocious amount of work has been done to educate motorists through the media and other road-safety initiatives and it does pay off,” said Insp Paul Reidy, head of the traffic corps in Limerick, who has welcomed the figures.
Insp Reidy praised members of the traffic corps for their diligence during the last 12 months and he has also thanked both Limerick City and County Councils who have carried out improvement works at particularly notorious blackspots such as at Barna between Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale.
“A lot of work has been done to rectify black spot areas,” he said adding that he hopes further works will be carried out this year.
Insp Reidy says gardai will continue to be out in force during 2013 and he is appealing to motorists not to be complacent.
“There are still areas of concern such as drink-driving and people using mobile phones while driving,” said Insp Reidy who added that driver fatigue is also a particular concern as people are increasingly travelling late at night following long work shifts.
“We would appeal to all road users to be conscious of safety on the roads and hopefully we will be able to keep the number of fatalities low if not improve on it,” he said.
While, road deaths in Limerick fell by 60% last year, nationally they fell by 25 to 161 - representing a reduction of 15.5%.
Transport minister Leo Varadkar said, “For the seventh year in a row the number of people killed on the roads has dropped. In 2012 the loss of life was the lowest ever recorded. The ongoing effort to reduce the tragedy of road deaths is working. We can never forget those who lost their lives on the roads in 2012, but this year we can take it a step further. I urge everyone to change one thing about their behaviour on the roads next year. It will make a difference.”