Road traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death globally. They are a matter of serious public health concern and have a significant impact at individual, family, community and population level.
While road traffic fatalities ("RTFs") are reported to the Gardai, the purpose of the journey is not always captured post-collision and this has resulted in unreliable data. While esimates across several countries, including Ireland, suggest somewhere between a quarter and a half of all RTFs involve someone driving for work, the IOSH research into work-related RTFs ("WR-RTFs") just released also looked at coroners reports.
While the findings were broadly in line with the estimates (23% of the 833 RTF inquest files reviewed involved a worker), in terms of fatality notification through the HSA, WR-RTFs in Ireland have been underestimated by a factor of 1.4 for workers, by a factor of 10 for "Bystander type 1" fatalities - where decedents were not at work, but the other party to the collision was working and work contributed directly to these collisions, ie work was a primary factor.
Coupled with the fact that total road fatalities in 2016 increased 16pc on 2015, as a society, we urgently need to look at what's being done by everyone involved - individuals, employers, regulators, insurers, media, lawyers and others - to reverse this tragic and unnecessary loss of life.