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The Road Safety Authority (RSA) launches “Who was Mary Ward? Vision Zero” Campaign

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland has initiated an ambitious campaign with the goal of reducing road-related fatalities and serious injuries in Ireland to zero by the year 2050. Named after Mary Ward, the first person worldwide to perish in a road crash, the campaign urges all road users—drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians—to make one change to contribute to the prevention of further road tragedies.

Mary Ward, a pioneering scientist and scholar, met her untimely demise on August 31, 1869, after falling under the wheels of a motor vehicle in Birr, Co. Offaly. She was a mother of eight and 42 years old at the time of her tragic accident. Ward achieved significant recognition in astronomy and was the first woman to be accepted into the Royal Astronomical Society.

Through this campaign, the RSA aspires to work towards a future where the last life is not lost on Irish roads. The launch of this initiative coincides with a year that has seen 130 road fatalities, which is 25 more than were reported at the same point last year.

The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers, expressed confidence in achieving Vision Zero and emphasised the government’s ambition to halve road deaths by 2030. Chambers also pledged to collaborate with the RSA, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to reform the penalty points system and conduct a nationwide speed limit review.

The RSA’s CEO, Sam Waide, stressed the need for collective efforts in road safety to ensure that every road journey concludes safely. He called on the public to commit to one positive change in their driving behaviour to contribute to safer roads.

“Who was Mary Ward? Vision Zero” campaign will span six months and include TV, video on demand, radio, social media, and out-of-home advertising. It comprises three phases: raising awareness about Mary Ward’s historical significance, discussing road infrastructure improvements and technology, and emphasising safe road-user behaviours.

For further information regarding the Vision Zero campaign can be found on the RSA website: https://www.rsa.ie/road-safety/campaigns/vision-zero-mary-ward


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