THE chances of a young man being killed in a road crash are almost doubled if they are travelling with two male friends, according to road safety boss Gay Byrne.
He was speaking after a weekend spike in road deaths which saw three people killed in accidents.
The head of the Road Safety Authority said the group is "very anxious" about the sudden rise in road deaths.
Latest figures from the garda press office show that 38 people have been killed on Irish roads this year, a jump of 13 on the figure of 25 at the same time last year.
Lily O'Toole (21 months) was killed when a family friend accidentally knocked her down in Ard Mor Walk in Tallaght on Saturday afternoon.
And in the west of the country, pals Declan McCormack (22) from Ballinary in Riverstown, Co Sligo, and his passenger Owen Kelly (20) from Dromahair in Co Leitrim, were killed instantly when the car they were in smashed into a tree at Sooey, Co Sligo, at around midnight on Saturday.
A 21-year-old friend was also injured in the crash and taken to Sligo General Hospital.
"We are disturbed at the moment because of the spike in accidents that happened over the last few days," Gay Byrne told the Herald.
"There's no pattern to it and there's no trend to it, but it has happened to us before, we had a bad spike last summer.
"Some of them are very freak smashes that happen.
"We are perturbed about it and very anxious about it and very disappointed about it, but there's nothing we can do about it. We can't put our finger on it," Mr Byrne explained. "It is very disturbing", he added.
While Mr Byrne said he did not know of the exact circumstances of the crash in Sligo, statistics have shown that where three young men travel together in a car, the chances of a fatal accident rise considerably.
"The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents gave us a statistic two years ago that where there are three young men in the 17 to 24 age group together in a car there is an 86pc greater chance that they are going to have a fatal smash," Mr Byrne told the Herald.
"What happened in Sligo the other night seems to be a classic example of that. I don't know the circumstances of it but it's very depressing," he added.
He urged drivers to exercise caution on the roads at all times.
"It might be a dull and boring message, but it's an important one," he explained.