Road Safety

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the development of road safety policy and legislation.  The current policy framework for road safety is set out in the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport also provides funding to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MRBS).

The Department has a dedicated Road Safety Division.  If you have a query that relates to the policy/legislation associated with driver licensing, driver testing, vehicle standards, traffic signs manual, motor insurance or road traffic legislation, you can e-mail the Road Safety Division directly at


If you have a query that relates to the day-to-day operation of related services or the improvement/maintenance of the road infrastructure, you may need to contact your local authority or one of our Department’s Agencies

The Traffic Signs Manual is available to view at

Road Safety in Ireland

Road Safety and awareness programmes today are the responsibility of the RSA

An interesting insight into the history of road safety promotion in Ireland is given by the following short films dating from 1949, commissioned by the Irish Government at the time and available since 14th September 2016 on the Irish Film Institute’s IFI Player.  The films are ‘Mr Careless goes to town’ and ‘Safe Cycling’.


Road Deaths in Ireland 1959 to 2017

1959:  306

1960:302 1961:332 1962:339 1963:335 1964:341 1965:356 1966:382 1967:416 1968:447 1969:462

1970:540 1971:576 1972:640 1973:592 1974:594 1975:586 1976:525 1977:583 1978:628 1979:614

1980:564 1981:572 1982:533 1983:535 1984:465 1985:410 1986:387 1987:462 1988:463 1989:460

1990:478 1991:445 1992:415 1993:431 1994:404 1995:437 1996:453 1997:472 1998:458 1999:413

2000:415 2001:411 2002:376 2003:335 2004:374 2005:396 2006:365 2007:338 2008:279 2009:238

2010:212 2011:186 2012:162 2013:188 2014:193 2015:162 2016:186 2017: 157: 2018:147


In Ireland, since records began in 1959 the rate of annual deaths continued to rise until they peaked at 640 deaths in 1972 and subsequently decreased to 387 deaths in 1986.  Between 1986 and 2005 the number fluctuated before a period of significant reduction began.  The total decreased by 59% from 396 in 2005 to an all-time lows of 162 in both 2012 and 2015 and 157 in 2017. Last year 2018, was the best year since records began with 147 road deaths recorded.   The objective is to reduce road deaths to 124 by 2020 and ultimately to aim for zero deaths on our roads. 


The reduction in fatalities in Ireland can be attributed to a number of key policies and actions set out in Ireland’s four Road Safety Strategies since 1998.  These include:

·         the introduction of the national car test in 2000,

·         the introduction of a penalty points system in 2002,

·         the introduction of a safety camera network,

·         increased enforcement through An Garda Síochána and the Garda Traffic Corps,

·         the establishment of the Road Safety Authority and the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing in 2006,

·         increased legislative sanctions for road and vehicle offences,

·         significant investment in infrastructure resulting in safer motorways and other roads,

 .         focused road safety education and awareness programmes.