As roads deaths in Donegal increased in 2010 a new five year strategy is planned to halve the number of road fatalities by 2015. So far this year, 19 have lost their county's roads, compared to 15 deaths in 2009.
The figure was on schedule for a reduction, but the unprecedented tragic Inishowen road crash in July, where eight people died following the States worst ever single collision, added significantly to this year's total.
At the time of collision the Clonmany crash immediately doubled the county's roads figures from eight to 16 overnight.
Superintendent of the Garda Traffic Corp in the Northwest, John McFadden, says as most people enjoy the holiday season 19 families have been left without their loved ones over Christmas.
"Here we are now at Christmas and the families who have lost loved ones during the year have been left heart-broken. We would plead with drivers to be careful because we must try and keep people alive. That is our main goal in the road policing unit," Supt. McFadden stated.
A new training programme aimed at learner drivers, parents of young drivers, along with increased speed checks and mandatory alcohol checks are measures in the Donegal road safety strategy aimed to more than halve road fatalities by 2015.
The five-year strategy aims to reduce road fatalities by nine per year by 2015, which is in line with national and European casualty reduction targets.
Head of traffic in Letterkenny Garda division, Inspector Michael Harrison, said the proposed measures of enforcement and education are key to improving road safety in the county.
He says the percentage of under-25s who have died in road traffic incidents nationally last year was 35 per cent, but in Donegal the figure was 50 per cent in 2009. The percentage of fatalities among under-25s for 2010 is 63 per cent.
Insp Harrison said there is still a hard-core element of irresponsible drivers in Donegal and it was hoped these measure, as well as ongoing multi agency measures, would target such behaviour.
He said the tragedy in Inishowen this year was the motivation behind the campaign.
"To lose eight people in one road traffic accident is horrendous. You can't allow that to happen again. The entire community of Inishowen was distraught, that really is the motivation," he stated.
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