The Road Safety Authority has expressed concern that road fatalities have increased for a second consecutive year.

The first person to die on Irish roads in 2015 was a pedestrian who was hit by a van in Co Donegal early this morning.

A provisional review for last year shows that 196 people died on the State's roads in 2014.

Four out of ten of those who died were either pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.

The RSA figures show a 3% rise in the number of deaths on Irish roads in 2014 compared with the previous year, but they represent a 21% increase on 2012.

There has been a 17% reduction in driver fatalities.

However, there has been a 22% increase in passenger deaths and 26% of passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.

There was a doubling in the number of fatalities among children when compared with the previous year.

RSA Chairperson Liz O'Donnell has appealed to drivers to change their behaviour, including not using mobile phones, not speeding and wearing seatbelts, to help make the roads safer in 2015.

The review also shows that while the southern region accounted for the largest proportion of road deaths, Dublin recorded the biggest increase in fatalities - 47% - in 2014.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe also expressed concern at the figures.

He said while the Government and State bodies need to "redouble their efforts, each individual needs to make a firmer commitment to practice safer road habits in the New Year".

The minister appealed to road users to be mindful of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, but also urged them to ensure they can be seen on the roads and "appreciate that they too need to follow the rules of the road".

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said last year was a tragic one for the families and friends of the 196 people who died.

He said gardaí had increased detections for key "lifesaver" offences, such as speeding, using mobile phones while driving and not wearing seatbelts.

He said that a comprehensive roads policing plan will be put in place this year to target the main causes of road crashes with a particular focus on using mobile phones while driving.

RSA Chief Executive Moyagh Murdock has said it is too early to say exactly why the numbers of road deaths have increased for a second consecutive year.

However, she said there were a number of observations that could be made.

She said there was an increase in economic activity so there was much more traffic.

Ms Murdock said Ireland had seen two years of fine weather during the summer and more people had been out enjoying that.

She said cycling had also become much more popular and there were a lot more cyclists on the roads.

Ms Murdock said with that there was an increased risk to vulnerable road users.

The Road Safety Authority gave out one million high-visibility vests to the public last year.

Anyone who wishes to obtain a vest can contact the Road Safety Authority through its website rsa.ie.