History of road fatalities 1980-2009

1980:  564 road users died and 8,509 were injured in Ireland, 50 fewer fatalities but 259 more injuries than in 1979.  These statistics show that a driving test in 50 km/h areas with ramps dictating a speed of 20 km/h is not fit for purpose and would make no difference to fatalities on the road if it was discontinued. Driving tests should be conducted at maximum speed, each driver’s limitation or not at all.

1981:  572 road users died in Ireland and 8,283 were injured. (14 to 1).  5,846 road users died in Britain and almost 300,000 were injured, 50 to 1.  Gardai were underreporting injury crashes by a factor of 4.
150 years of road fatalities 9Garda crash investigators were using the TRL designed AR Quimby and GR Watts TRRL 1004 stopping Report, prepared for the Departments for Environment and Transport, allowing Reaction/Thinking time before braking of 2.20 seconds, 73m at 120 km/h, while the

Amber light time was set at 3 seconds in 30 to 80 km/h areas, allowing 0.80 seconds stopping time, as road fatalities continued.

1982: 533 road users died and in Ireland, 5,934 in Great Britain, 43,945 in the USA, 216 in Northern Ireland, 3,552 in Australia, 673 in New Zealand, with an estimated 100 injuries for each fatality.

1983:  535 road users died in Ireland and 7,946 were injured. (15 to 1)

1984:  465 road users died in Ireland and 8,210 were injured. (18 to 1)

1985:  410 road users died in Ireland and 7,818 were injured. (19 to 1)

  • FARS incorrectly claimed Seat Belts, Helmets and Alcohol Law saved 17,349 lives.

1986:  387 road users died in Ireland and 8,329 were injured. (22 to 1)

1987:  462 road users died in Ireland and 8,409 were injured. (18 to 1)

1988:  463 road users died in Ireland and 8,437 were injured. (18 to 1)

1989:  460 road users died in Ireland and 8,803 were injured. (19 to 1)

1990:  478 road users died in Ireland and 9,429 were injured. (18 to 1)

1991:  445 road users died in Ireland and 9,874 were injured. (22 to 1)

1992:  415 road users died in Ireland and 10,188 were injured. (25 to 1)

1993:  431 road users died in Ireland and 9,831 were injured. (23 to 1). 

  • In 1993, the European Transport Safety Council ETSC was Founded. The ETSC claims to provide an impartial source of expert advice on transport safety matters to the European Commission and others.

1994:  404 road users died in Ireland and 10,229 were injured. (25 to 1).  The Garda Research Unit was established to carry out research relevant to policing in Ireland, but road fatalities continued.

1995:  437 road users died in Ireland and 12,673 were injured. (29 to 1)

1996:   453 road users died in Ireland, 16 more than in 1995, but a reduction of 119 after 15 years. The numbers injured at 13,319 had increased by 5,036 from the 8,283 recorded in 1981, while injury crashes were underreported by police.

  • TRL was now privatised and owned by the Transport Research Foundation TRF.

1997:  472 road users died in Ireland, an increase of 19 fatalities on 1996 statistics and 35 on 1995 statistics, while the numbers injured increased by 4,160 to 17,479 from the 13,319 recorded in 1996.

On 25 05 1997, Christopher Moore 3 years and 11 months was fatally injured when struck by a car driven by an off-duty Garda driver.  There was a 27-metre tyre mark left on the road with 7 metres before and 20 metres after impact in a 64 km/h area. Road fatalities continued.

1998:  458 road users died Ireland and 14,689 were injured. (32 to 1).

1999:  413 road users died in Ireland and 14,207 were injured. (34 to 1)
150 years of road fatalities 10White Flag Road Safety Campaign 1999

The late Fergal Quinn and Gay Byrne pictured at the Launch of the White Flag Safety Drive road safety campaign in 1999, but road fatalities continued as TRL stopping formulas were incorrect.

Photo: Darren Kinsella

150 years of road fatalities 11White Flag Road Safety Campaign 1999

White Flag Road Safety Drive by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Bobby Molloy and Cartan Finnegan, chairman of the National Safety Council at the Launch of the White Flag Safety Drive.

Photo: Steve Humphreys

21 08 1999, Tim O’Brien reported in the Irish Times on the launch of the White Flag Campaign by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment Bobby Molloy and chairman of the National Safety Council Cartan Finnegan, while Emer O’Kelly reported on the launch in the Irish Independent.

  • Gay Byrne was a broadcaster in 1999 and became the RSA Chair in 2006, while Liz O’Donnell was Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1999 and became the RSA Chair in 2014.
  • The white Flag did little to reduce fatalities, as the TRL stopping formulas remained unchanged.

2000:  415 road users died in Ireland and 13,683 were injured. (33 to 1)

2001:  411 road users died in Ireland and 11,639 were injured. (28 to 1)

O9 11 2001:  Ref TB2/254/01, Chief Superintendent DN Fitzpatrick Garda National Traffic Bureau arranged for Superintendent Tom Murphy to meet with me and discuss my research discovery.  Superintendent Tom Murphy met with me but did not watch a demonstration, pursue the matter or contact me again, but in

2001, Gardai issued, 345,652 fines on-the-spot for speeding, 64,478 fines for non-wearing of seat belts and arrested 12,841 drivers for suspected drink driving, while road fatalities continued.

Gardai were now 79 years investigating fatal road crashes since 1922. The numbers of fines on the spot issued and arrests made was how garda performance was measured by the Garda Authorities, but fatalities again increased.

2002:  458 road users died in Ireland, 47 more than in 2001 and 10,356 were injured. (23 to1)

06 09 2002:  I had invested in a camera system capable of proving my discovery to 120 km/h in 48 seconds 800m, before discovering VBOX the world’s most accurate recorder of speed in time and distance in 2005.

Michael Comer Chief Driver Tester responded; I wish to confirm that it is the policy of the Department that test vehicles should not be fitted with either video or sound recording equipment during a driving test.

  • Michael Comer was mistaken, road crashes resulting in death, injury and damage continued.

2003: 335 road users died in Ireland and 9,271 were injured. (28 to 1). Garda patrol car crashes increased by 300% according to Parliamentary Questions and Answers.

07 03 2003:  According to a report in the Irish Independent, carnage on Dublin City roads was cut by 74% as a result of traffic calming measures, but there was an increase of 26% in the number of road deaths in the rest of Dublin County over the same period.  Ramps damaged cars, as the 1988 Bollards and Ramps Guidelines were introduced but installers failed to comply on height, width, position and that they were prohibited on pedestrian crossings, bus routes and dual carriageways.

  • Ramps dictated a speed of 10 to 20 km/h by the time 30 km/h speed limits were introduced.

2004:  374 road users died in Ireland, 39 more than in 2003 and 8,744 were injured. This is 23 injuries for each fatality in Ireland, compared with 86 to 1 in Germany, 87 to 1 in the UK, 90 to 1 in Austria and 11 to 1 in Poland, while police statistics on drunken driving are estimated.

  • These police statistics do not stand up to scrutiny 135 years after the first road fatality.

2005:  396 road users died in Ireland, 22 more than in 2004 and 10,339 were injured. (26 to 1)


30 1 2005, the Seanad debated road safety due to the number of fatalities, while

In 2005, Assistant Commissioner Eddie Rock was appointed in charge of the Garda Traffic Unit. In July 2005, the Expert Group reporting on the use of Safety Cameras in Ireland included Chief Superintendent John Farrelly, Superintendents Tom Murphy and Declan O’Brien and Inspector Michael Brosnan. The objective of a safety camera project was to save lives.  Gardai, for unknown reasons had removed 37 years of their official fatal road crash statistics between 1922 and 1959, without explanation.  The Reference Books used by the Expert Group were obsolete, with many no longer available and including incorrect information.

On 31 05 2010Michael Brosnan who as a Garda Inspector outlined driver reaction time/distance at 120 km/h as 2.20 seconds 73m now outlined driver reaction time/distance at 120 km/h as 0.67 seconds 22m as the Road Safety Authority Research Manager.  Brosnan was making a Presentation on ‘Speeding at the International Road Safety Conference and used 29 book References as the source of the presentation information including; ‘Wramborg, P (2005)’ which has 1,500 pages, 1,600 Reference books including the incorrect 1981 TRRL 1004 AR. Quimby BSc. and GR. Watts BSc. MSc PhD formula used by Garda Kelly.

TRL having misled the Highway Code since 1946 and their 1,000 clients in 145 countries worldwide on stopping distances was now misleading the Monash University Accident Research Centre and Research Centres worldwide, including the Garda and Road Safety Authority Research Departments.

  • TRL was misleading the Gardai, who misled the Seanad.

09 08 2005, Reference Number: TB2/25401, Chief Superintendent John Farrelly Garda National Traffic Bureau responded to my research discovery; “I will keep your letter on file, and I will discuss the contents with the Department of Environment”.

  • Michael Comer Department of Environment Chief driver tester was already aware of my research, so why do Gardai not want to eliminate road crashes after 83 years of their crash investigation? Why do Gardai and the RSA not coopperate?

2006:  365 road users died in Ireland and 9,482 were injured. (26 to 1)

The Highway Code Public Consultation 2006

In 2006, the Secretary of State, with responsibility for revising the UK Highway Code in accordance with the requirements of Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, conducted  a Public consultation in accordance with the principles of the Cabinet Office’s Code of Practice on Consultations and in March 2007 concluded on Stopping distances: “it was decided that, in the interests of safety, no change would be made to the stopping or separation distances”.

  • Fatalities continue as the TRL designed stopping formulas were incorrect.

13 09 2006:  The Road Safety Authority was established by the Irish Government and on 01 09 2006, Ref; 485/09, the Road Safety Authority Chairperson Gay Byrne responded: “Whilst I am not in a position to meet with you directly myself due to the pressures of work, I would suggest that you send further details of the product you are proposing to Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority at the address below” The letter was signed by Noel Brett PP Gay Byrne.

  • Noel Brett and Gay Byrne were misled by TRL on stopping distances and later left the RSA without accepting or disproving my research discovery.

2007:  338 road users died in Ireland and 8,666 were injured. (26 to 1). Ireland had 278 kilometres of motorways, 299 of the 2,453 Garda cars or one in eight were involved in crashes. Gardai having passed the RSA driving test were authorised drive patrol cars by Chief Superintendents.  €3.3m was paid in compensation due to crashes and a further 265 road crash compensation claims were not yet resolved. 592,722 of the 2.5m, 1 in 4 of the licensed drivers received penalty points and 450,610 received penalty points for speeding. 13,314 drivers received penalty points for failing to comply with traffic lights which have the amber light incorrectly timed at 3 seconds in 80 km/h speed limit areas and not possible to comply with.

RSA Road Safety Strategy 2007

The Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said: “Road Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Gay Byrne the RSA Chair said: “Road Safety is one area that makes nonsense of Mark Twain’s famous observation that there are “Lies, damned lies – and statistics. The RSA advises the Minister, who then develops policy for road safety”.

  • Both Dempsey and Byrne were mistaken as they were misled by TRL.

21 03 2007: day six of the trial for dangerous driving causing the deaths of 5 and injuries to 12 pedestrians in a 50 km/h area on 21 02 2004 on Wellington Quay, Garda Tony Kelly gave evidence that reaction time to a hazard on the road is 2.2 seconds 31 metres before applying the brakes.

The 2007, RSA Rules of the Road outlined driver reaction before braking from 50 km/h as 0.67 seconds 9.20 metres or 1.53 seconds 21.80 metres shorter than outlined by Garda Tony Kelly.

18 07 2007:Noel Gibbons the Mayo Road Safety Officer, took part in the road safety blessing of the roads, while using TRL the Holroyd City Council Australia reaction time of 1.50 seconds 20.80m at 50 km/h.

Gibbons responded, I will forward your email to the RSA who may be able to discuss with you or have the resources to examine your claims more closely.  Road blessing and fatalities continued, as

The Transport Research Laboratory TRL Response

17 05 2007, Linda Cooke TRL Library Enquiries, Information Centre had responded; Thank you for your enquiry. I hope the attached will be of help to you.  The attached was a copy of pages 116 and 117 of the book ‘On the Road’, which included the Highway Code stopping distances.

2008: 279 road users died in Ireland and 10,953 were injured. (39 to 1). Fatalities dropped by 59 but injuries increased by 2,287.

On 08 03 2008, Dean Ward 7 years of age was fatally injured when struck by an unmarked Garda patrol car, as he crossed the road in a 60 km/h speed limit area. 

Gardai, based on TRL advice were now incorrectly alllowing their patrol car drivers 2.20 seconds 37 metres reaction Time/Distance to move a foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal before applying the brakes in a 60 km/h area.

The Garda and Road Safety Authority stopping distances based on TRL formulas

On 23 03 2008, I queried the stopping difference between the RSA who outlined reaction before braking from a speed of 60 km/h as 0.67 seconds 12 metres and Gardai who outlined reaction as 2.20 seconds 37 metres.

  • In 2008, there were 279 road user fatalities in the Republic of Ireland and a further 107 in Northern Ireland, a fatality every 23 hours.

26 03 2008:  Chief Superintendent Aiden Reid responded; I wish to acknowledge receipt of your email of 23rd March 2008 and confirm that I will revert back to you in early course.

  • What does early course mean when road fatalities are investigated by police for 139 years and by Gardai for 86 years since 1922? Crash investigators should know and use the same stopping distances formula worldwide.

08 09 2008: Chief Superintendent Aiden Reid Garda Traffic Department took 6 months to confirm that, ‘the 1981 TRL1004, Transport Research Laboratory, Human Factors and Driving Performance’ prepared for the Departments for Environment and Transport UK, by AR Quimby and GR Watts was the source of the 2.20 second 73m driver reaction before applying the brakes at 120 km/h.  This was the Reference book used by Garda Tony Kelly, and to contact the RSA as they have responsibility for stopping distances in the Rules of the Road.

Reid may have been misled by TRL, but Gardai and the RSA had their own Research Departments and 299 of the 2,500 Garda cars were involved in road crashes as fatalities continued

  • I brought this information to the attention of Chief Superintendent Aiden Reid and suggested that the information should be brought to the attention of Garda Tony Kelly , the Jury and the courts.

2008The retired Traffic Department Inspector Michael Brosnan who was using the TRL1004 stopping formula allowing 2.20 seconds reaction, with braking beyond emergency standard became the RSA Research Manager.  Brosnan delivered a Presentation on Speed at the International Conference on Speeding at Dublin Castle alongside the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and Superintendent Con O’Donohue.

  • TRL was the source of both the incorrect Garda and RSA stopping formulas.

08 09 2008:           Rosemary Hill TRL Library Enquiries responded on stopping distances.  “I suggest you contact the Road Safety Authority and ask them for the full reference to the TRL publication. Unfortunately, I have not been able to track the publication down by guessing at keywords.  In the course of a year, TRL produces a considerable number of reports and publications”.

07 09 2008: I wrote to the Road Safety Authority RSA Chief Executive Officer CEO Noel Brett as I had not received a response to a query about the stopping distances in the Rules of the Road sent on 23 03 2008, almost 6 months earlier to the RSA as follows:

  • Based on my stopping research using VBOX a satellite time and distance measuring device, the stopping distances outlined in the Rules of the Road are incorrect. These distances differ from that outlined by Garda Crash Investigators when stopping from a speed of 50 km/h by 22 metres and 51.5m when stopping from a speed of 120 km/h.  However, the braking distance outlined from 120 km/h at 85.50m by Gardai and the RSA based on TRL advice is 114.5m short of the Normal Braking standard required and 14.5m short of the emergency standard required. This is a major cause of road traffic crashes.

The Transport Research Laboratory UK is the source of the Road Safety Authority stopping distances as outlined in the Rules of the Road in Ireland and are based on a reaction time of 0.67 seconds with the formula as follows:

  • Reaction Distance + Braking Distance = total Stopping Distance.
  • Where Reaction Distance = V * 0.67,
  • Braking Distance = V x V/ 2mg,
  • V = Velocity m/s, m = Friction 0.8,
  • g = Gravity -9.8m/s.

The Rules of the Road and Official Driver Theory Stopping differs by 7.70 metres from speed of 100 km/h and is misleading those candidates undertaking the Driver Theory Test and driving test questions.

Gardai outline stopping from 100 km/h based on a driver Reaction Time of 2.2 seconds or 61 metres compared with the 0.67 second 18.3 metres outlined in the 2007 Rules of the Road so differ by 42.7 metres.

I am inviting yourself and the Gardai to watch a demonstration of the Driving Scorecard System based on VBOX measurements showing clearly the rules of the Road stopping distances are incorrect, and

The Road Safety Authority Rules of the Road will never again show as outlined on page 96 as follows:

  • A reaction time of 4 seconds shows a car travels 110 metres before the brakes are applied
  • Hit by a car at 60 km/h 9 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed
  • Hit by a car at 50 km/h, 5 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed
  • Hit by a car at 30 km/h, 1 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed

Source RoSPA UK

The Rules of the Road Stopping Distances are incorrect, RoSPA has not researched the stopping distances and the Transport Research Laboratory TRL the source of all stopping formulas referred me to their client the RSA. A driver with a Reaction Time of 4 seconds should be declared medically unfit to drive. Pedestrians are hit by drivers failing to brake to Stop in Time.

17 06 2008: Michael Comer, having failed to respond in almost 6 months, declined my invitation to watch a demonstration, as did the RSA CEO Noel Brett, which would prove conclusively in 48 seconds 800m to a speed of 120 km/h that the Rules of the Road stopping distances are incorrect, now responded as follows;

 “As outlined in the Rules of the Road, braking distances depend on several factors, and can vary depending on the driving situation concerned. The application of a factor can reduce or exacerbate the effect of another, e. g., late reaction plus incorrect tyre pressures can increase the braking distance in a given situation, while fast reaction with correctly inflated tyres can reduce the distance in the same situation.

As such, the distances given are indicative, in order to make drivers aware of the possible distances which may be required to stop from a given speed. Distances may vary, depending on the drivers perception time, drivers reaction time, vehicle condition, (tyres, speed, brakes, number of axles, weight, suspension, steering), road surface, (anti-skid, dry, polished, loose, wet, slippery, uphill, downhill, bend), and also in the case of motorcyclists, correct application of the brakes.   Apologies for the delay in replying to your query”

  • This response did not make any sense.

10 12 2008: Michael Comer responded to further queries about his response as follows:

Subject: Recent email. Follow Up Flag: Follow up; Flag Status: Red; I am retired from the RSA. Kind regards. Michael Comer.

Query to the Road Safety Authority, who sets the Speed Limits?

In 2006 responsibility for driver training, driver testing and the rules of the Road stopping distances was transferred to the newly formed Road Safety Authority under the direct control of the Department of Transport while the setting of speed limits and amber light time at 3 seconds remained with Environment. I queried responsibility for setting speed limits as Gardai enforced an incorrect speed limit on the R108.  The reply from the Road Safety Authority took only 18 minutes as follows:

Michael Rowland RSA responded: The setting of speed limits is a reserve function of local authorities.  Each local authority has the power to alter or introduce a revised speed limit.  Each alteration of a speed limit requires consultation with the NRA (National routes) and the Gardai, however

  • In 2003, speed limits were Reviewed by Brian Farrell who became the RSA Communications Manager and Inspector Michael Brosnan Garda Traffic Department who became the RSA Research Manager.

2009: 238 road users died in Ireland and 10,382 were injured. (42 to 1). Ireland had 681 kilometres of motorways, 532 of the 2,773 Garda cars (1 in 5) were involved in crashes, the RSA incorrectly claimed Speeding was directly responsible for 80 deaths, and 814,079 of the 2.5m licenced drivers received penalty points.  82% of fatalities occurred on two-way single carriageways, 21% at traffic lights where all amber lights are incorrectly timed at 3 seconds, while the Assistant Garda Commissioner Eddie Rock, on radio and in a press release outlined ‘a good news story’ only 0.48% of drivers checked at checkpoints were drunk, while road fatalities continued.

Discrepancy in driving theory handbooks

04 03 2009:  David Labanyi wrote in the Irish Times about the discrepancy which I discovered in the Rules of the Road and driving theory handbooks on stopping distances. The RSA removed the relevant, questions from the driver theory test but failed to correct the mistake made by TRL in the Rules of the Road stopping formula, so road fatalities continued.

29 04 2009: Chief Superintendent Aiden Reid responded Ref; DMRT 25B.46/08 RE: Reaction Time.  “Assistant Commissioner Traffic has advised me that the issues you have raised in correspondence to this office would be more appropriately addressed through your direct liaison with the Road Safety Authority”.

  • Assistant Commissioner Rock who advised Reid became an RSA board member.
  • Gardai were now 87 years investigating road fatalities without knowing the stopping formulas.

17 10 2009:   Sergeant Colm Finn unveiled a hi-tech Garda unit tasked with finding out how and why fatal road traffic collisions happen, but in 2019, or 10 years later a report is awaited.

The AA is misled by TRL on stopping distances as follows:

 150 years of road fatalities 12 




On 24 07 2009 and 11 11 2009,
B. Corcoran, Chief Superintendent, Personal Assistant to the Garda Commissioner referred my research to Assistant Commissioner Eddie Rock at the Garda National Traffic Bureau.

 Drunken Driving Statistics

23 10 2009: Assistant Garda Commissioner Eddie Rock, who advised Chief Superintendent Aiden Reid, reported that 0.48% of drivers stopped at Garda checkpoints were drunk, so therefore 99.52% of drivers on the roads are sober.  On retirement Edie Rock joined the board of the RSA where the RSA now claim, based on 2008 – 2012 Garda Statistics that alcohol is a factor in 38% of road fatalities.

  • These statistics could not be correct, so is there collusion between Gardai, TRL and the RSA?

2009 Garda Statistics

The Annual Report of An Garda Siochana 2009 by Commissioner Fachtna Murphy states: “2009 was the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959.  The number of people who lost their lives on our roads fell once more in 2009, from 279 to 240, which represents 39 lives saved”, however

  • Garda statistics on road fatalities began in 1922 when 51 fatalities were recorded, not in 1959. There were 240 lives lost in 2009, not 39 lives saved.
  • Who decided people should be killed on the road, while TRL rules on stopping remains incorrect and unchanged?

Traffic Blues, a ground-breaking Garda observational television series appeared on RTE 1.  Drivers were pursued at high speed on two-way roads and the wrong way on motorways.  Some drivers arrested for drunken driving were well over the limit allowed, while others were so little over the limit that they were under the limit on arriving at the Garda Station.

09 08 2011, Inspector John Ferris responded: "I have forwarded your correspondence and book, CD to Assistant Commissioner John Twomey of the Garda National Traffic Bureau for his consideratioon in relation to issues raised.  A comprehensive review of driving instruction provided to Garda members has been undertaken and will be implemented in the near future".  

This did not happen, pursuits continued and in one pursuit a Garda said, “This driver is on the wrong side of the Roundabout, he is going to kill someone”, and fatalities did continue as;

  • Drivers cannot be trained with dual controls; cars cannot be stopped in TRL braking distances.