2022 ‘devastating’ year for West Cork road deaths
The Cork West Division is “probably the highest in the entire country” for road deaths in 2022 gardaí have said.
There were 13 road deaths in total in Cork in 2022, 11 of which happened in West Cork according to end of year garda numbers. There was 1 fatality in Cork North and 1 in the city. Cork (13), Dublin (13) and Limerick (10) recorded the highest number of fatalities by county in 2022 as the country recorded an overall 13% rise in road deaths compared to 2021.
Speaking at the most recent Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting, Cork City Chief Superintendent Thomas Myers called 2022 “a very bad year” for fatal road accidents.
“We haven't got a good story today in relation to Cork West unfortunately. It was a devastating year for us on the roads. I think it's probably the highest in the entire country,” said Chief Superintendent Myers.
Chief Superintendent Vincent O'Sullivan, who oversees both the Cork West and Cork North Divisions, said of the 12 lives lost in the county, 10 were male and 2 were female. The male fatalities were made up of 2 motorcyclists, 1 mobility scooter and 7 motor vehicles. Both female fatalities were pedestrians.
The ages of 3 of the fatalities were between 18 and 35, 1 was between 36 and 50, 5 were between 51 and 69, and 3 were over 70, giving and average age of 54 and a half. 9 of the fatalities occurred between 7am and 7pm.
Half the cases were single vehicle collisions in which the sole occupant driver was fatally injured.
A major concern for gardaí is people driving while intoxicated with Cork North seeing a rise in drivers caught under the influence of drink or drugs.
330 drivers were found driving while intoxicated in Cork North in 2022, with 181 in Cork West and 270 in Cork City divisions. Chief Superintendent O'Sullivan also said speed is a factor in 1 third of fatal collisions in Ireland and that the speed limit is “not a target”.
“It's important to read the conditions. Just because you're driving on a 120kmph road doesn't mean that you set your speed to 120kmph. What are the conditions like? What is the traffic like?” he said.
He also said people not wearing seatbelts is still a large factor in road fatalities.
According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) almost 1 in 5 drivers and passengers killed in Ireland in 2022 were found not to have been wearing a seatbelt.
A total of 155 people died in 149 fatal road collisions in 2022 in Ireland compared to 137 deaths in 124 fatal road collisions in 2021. RSA figures show that saw a doubling of pedestrian deaths in 2022.
Commenting in 2022, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Jack Chambers said: “The high number of pedestrian deaths, who are the most vulnerable of road users in our community, is also worrying. Working together, we can reverse this trend in 2023.”