The Minister of the Environment has expressed sympathy to families in Coleraine and Belfast who lost teenagers in road collisions - and has reiterated his determination to tackle road deaths across the Province.
Mark H Durkan extended his condolences to the families of Enda Dolan who was struck by a van in south Belfast close to Elms student village and also Emma Scott, a 17-year-old from Aghadowey who was killed on her way to a dental appointment outside Coleraine.
The deaths of the two teenagers in one day of carnage on October 16 brought the death toll to 64.
That grim total compares to 57 for the whole of 2013.
In a reply to a table questioned by East Londonderry Independent MLA, Claire Sugden about what reassurances his Department could give about reducing the death toll, Mr Durkan revealed that the vast majority of casualties were down to human error.
He said: “I am extremely concerned by the number of road deaths this year. My sincere sympathy is with all of the families and communities affected by those tragedies.
“As Minister with lead responsibility for road safety, I remain totally committed to the partnership approach that has so greatly reduced road casualties over the last 40 years.
“The Road Safety Strategy to 2020 sets out four strategic targets and 224 action measures to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads. We take a shared approach to implementation, working alongside many parts of government, the Police Service and other bodies. Some 118 of the Strategy action measures have already been completed or embedded in ongoing business, and there have been positive reductions against the Strategy’s four targets.
“I also convene the Road Safety Forum, where representation is drawn from the relevant government departments, statutory agencies, the emergency services and a range of other road safety stakeholders. All of the Forum members have a clear commitment and resolve to tackle road safety issues; the meetings provide an opportunity to exchange views on the Strategy and the way in which it is being implemented.”
The Minister went on to reveal: “I cannot emphasise enough, however, that the vast majority of casualties on our roads are caused by human error.
“My Department and our road safety partners can educate, engineer and enforce, but ultimately each of us as individuals has to take personal responsibility for our attitudes and behaviours as road users.”