Speaking at the Road Safety Council of Northern Ireland’s annual congress Kevin Delaney, traffic and road safety manager for the RAC Foundation, claimed the number of people killed and injured on the roads was unacceptable and new thinking must be employed to tackle the problem.
Delaney told delegates: "Already this year 123 road users have died on Northern Ireland’s roads and we still have the darkest, and traditionally worst, casualty months of November and December to come before the finally tally can be counted.
"But talking about statistics doesn’t reflect the true tragedy that a death brings to the family and friends of the victims. Perhaps we have all become accustomed to the slow drip of death on our roads. If an airliner went down over Northern Ireland killing 123 people then we would see national outcry and huge attention to improving safety measures."
Speaking on the theme of 'What Cost Road Safety', Delaney said that while road safety measures were expensive, the cost of a life is priceless in human terms and costly in material ones.
Delaney said Northern Ireland should appoint a single person, or legal entity to be responsible for all aspects of road user safety, co-ordinating education, engineering and enforcement and arguing for a realistic road safety budget from a position of influence.
"As well as counting casualties, should we also be calculating the value of safe journeys," he said.