14. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of road traffic collisions involving heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number which resulted in a fatality, serious injury and fatality of the driver of the vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6261/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As I have previously advised the Deputy, I understand that An Garda Síochána does not record road traffic statistics in a way that easily allows for the disaggregation of data in the manner you have requested; that is by vehicle type.
However, the Deputy may be aware of the Road Safety Authority's annual Road Collision Factbooks, which provide detailed statistics in relation to collisions on our roads. The most recent factbook, covering 2015, was published on the RSA’s website in December 2018.
This factbook shows that, in 2015, 106 public service vehicles and 915 goods vehicles were involved in fatal and/or injury collisions. The report also provides similar figures on drivers of such vehicles. In 2015, there were no fatalities of public service vehicle drivers, however, there were 17 injuries. For goods vehicle drivers, there were six fatalities and 317 injuries.
I have been informed by the Road Safety Authority that their intent is to publish the 2016 Road Collision Factbook in the first half of this year.
I do want to take the opportunity to address road safety more generally. In 2018, we witnessed the lowest number of road traffic fatalities on record (148), and while every single fatality on our roads is one too many, I was greatly encouraged by this downward trend. However, I am very concerned at the marked rise in road traffic fatalities in the year so far, particularly in view of the proactive efforts being made by the key stakeholder agencies to make our roads safer.
Last week, An Garda Síochána publicly reiterated its continuing enforcement focus on the lifesaver offences of speeding, seatbelts, mobile phones and driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. It was shocking to read that 1 out of every 3 victims in fatal vehicle accidents had no safety belt on at the time of the collision, and, unfortunately, this trend seems to be continuing into 2019.
This stark statistic underscores the need for drivers, and passengers, to ensure that all safety precautions have been taken, especially when it comes to seat belts. Finally, I would like to echo the comments made last week by the Chief Superintendent of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, when he said that "safety belts are proven life savers and must be worn every journey, every time".