Environment - Action on Road Safety
Wed 19 May 2004
It is Timmy's belief that Ireland’s attitude to road safety has got to change. We can no longer claim that road deaths, and road injuries, are ‘inevitable ’, ‘unavoidable ’or ‘one of those things ’. Thousands of families are suffering the pain of lost loved ones. Thousands of individuals are living with injuries sustained on the roads -some of a horrific nature.
Some advances have been made in this area over the years - reductions in the blood/alcohol level, penalty points and the introduction of the driving theory test. But this is not enough. People continue to die. And families continue to grieve. It is time we took a hard look at driver education and driver safety. It is time we all faced up to our responsibilities to make Ireland’s roads safer. The Fine Gael Action Plan to tackle Ireland’s road carnage falls into three broad categories:-
- Better driver education at all stages of life
- An improved, reformed, modern driving test
- An environment that encourages good driving and punishes those who endanger the safety of others
By tackling the issue on these three fronts, we believe we can have a real impact on this very real problem.
WHY ACTION IS NEEDED
In the last 10 years nearly 5,000 people have lost their lives on Irish roads. This has cost the community over € 7.5 billion, not to mention the personal grief and suffering to the families involved in such tragic circumstances. The statistics show that Ireland has twice the per capita of road deaths as Britain.
Contributors to accidents include excessive speed, non- wearing of seatbelts and drink driving, as well as sub-standard roads. It is clear that better driving skills and better driving behaviour would make an enormous difference to reducing the number of casualties on our roads.
The National Roads Authority estimates the purely financial cost of road accidents at € 754 million -almost € 200 for every man, woman and child in the country. That is money that would be better spent on education for our children, health care for our sick and protection for the vulnerable in our society.
Above all, the greatest waste is the lives of our young people. The scale of the problem is astounding.
- One accident on our roads every 19 minutes.
- One person killed every 21 hours.
- One person injured every 52 minutes.
- One young person killed every 2 days.
- One young driver killed every 10 days.
- One young driver injured every 11 hours.
- One critical person rushed to hospital every 5 hours.
- For their sake, and everybody’s safety, we need action.
Source: National Roads Authority.
"Young" is defined as less than 25 years.
"Driver" is defined as car driver.