Provisional road casualty figures for 2015 show that there were 158 fatal collisions across the year, resulting in 165 fatalities.

According to data from the Road Safety Authority, there were 21 (12%) fewer fatal collisions, and 28 (15%) fewer deaths last year compared with 2014.

The significant decline reverses an upward trend in road deaths in recent years, with 188 casualties in 2013, and 193 in 2014.

The 2015 figures represent the second lowest number of road deaths since recording began in 1959.

The safest year on Irish roads was in 2012 when 162 people were killed.

Commenting on the report the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe  said: “Throughout 2016 the RSA will continue to highlight the dangers for vulnerable and other road users and I will be progressing legislation in January to tackle drug driving.

“While Government agencies have played a vital role in achieving the reduction in road deaths, the real thanks goes to road user for taking the responsibility of taking greater care on our roads.

“By making a choice not to speed or drink drive, by wearing a seatbelt and by wearing high visibility clothing when out walking, lives have been saved,” he added.

An Garda Síochána said it will continue to incorporate road safety as one of its key policing objectives in 2016 to ensure safety for everyone using the roads.