Larne road death toll prompts safety calls

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Calls have been made for greater focus on road safety education in Larne, which had the second-highest number of fatalities last year.

Official figures from the PSNI show that a total of five people lost their lives on roads around the borough in 2013. All were male, three were drivers, one was a pedestrian and one a motorcyclist.

Fermanagh was the only council area to have a higher death count, with seven people killed. In all, 56 people died on the roads across Northern Ireland in 2013.

And DUP Councillor Gregg McKeen has urged police and the Department of the Environment to takes steps to get to the root of the problem “before another family is torn apart by tragedy”.

He said: “I am deeply concerned at the number of people who lost their lives on the roads in the Larne borough last year. One death is too many, and I want to express my sympathies to those who have lost loved one’s as a result of road traffic collisions.

“I am now calling on the PSNI and DoE to step up their road safety campaign messages in the Larne area. Education plays a key part in the prevention and reduction of accidents.”

But Cllr McKeen stressed that all drivers have their part to play in making Northern Ireland’s roads safer.

“While education and enforcement is important, it is also vital to remember that all drivers have a responsibility to exercise care and attention on the roads,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown has highlighted to DRD Roads Service the increased number of road traffic collisions on the Coast Road.

The Department said it plans to upgrade signage and road markings on part of the road north of Ballygally. It also intends to investigate all the collisions in detail to determine if any additional civil engineering measures need to be introduced.

The local councillors’ concerns come at a time when Superintendent David Moore, from the PSNI’s Operational Support Department, has claimed that Northern Ireland is faced with a “road safety emergency”, with seven road deaths already in 2014, up to Tuesday of this week.

Supt Moore said: “The sad reality is that many of the deaths and serious injuries on our roads could be avoided, but we need the collective efforts of everyone in Northern Ireland to do their bit to bring carnage on our roads to an end.”

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan was due to meet members of the Northern Ireland Road Safety Forum on Tuesday.