We now move on to the next item for consideration, which is the general scheme of the Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2011. I ask the Minister to make his opening statement.
Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2011: Discussion
Just before we turn our attention to the general scheme of the Bill, I wish to acknowledge the opportunity that has been afforded to us today to discuss and consider the policy framework of this scheme. The Government approved the general scheme, or heads, of the Bill only two weeks ago. Today, we are breaking new ground with this more consultative approach to developing legislation. The programme for Government made a commitment to involve public representatives at an earlier stage of the legislative process. This was to allow Oireachtas committees to consider proposed legislation prior to its publication. As far as I am aware, this is the first piece of proposed legislation to undergo this process. The heads of the Bill were approved by the Cabinet, have been published today and are being presented to this Oireachtas committee. The traditional process was that the heads of a Bill were prepared, drafted by the parliamentary draftsperson and written to Second Stage when it came before the Dáil and Seanad. It was more or less already decided at that stage and Parliament often had little influence on the legislation. There is strong international evidence that the influence of parliamentary committees on legislation is strongly dependent on what stage they are brought into the process and are given access to the legislation. Historically, however, that has not been the case in Ireland. Legislation has often been prepared by the Government, often in consultation with vested interests, including the social partners and others, and is then brought before Parliament effectively for rubber stamping. We are determined to change that process and to get Oireachtas Members and committees involved in legislation from day one.
Essentially, I am asking the committee to consider the heads of the Bill and report back in about a month's time giving its views on the legislation, including suggestions on how it could be amended or improved before it is fully drafted. In that way, the committee can have an input before the Bill is drafted. The committee may, or may not, wish to appoint a rapporteur. That is up to the members themselves. It may also wish to hold hearings, perhaps by asking interested parties to make submissions or attend public hearings on the Bill. Unfortunately, the timeframe is tight. With the summer coming up, there really only is a month to do it. I would hope in future that we would have a longer timeframe.
My only request is that if the committee undertakes hearings, what would be of particular value to me would be to give detailed consideration to any evidence presented rather than merely passing on what different interest groups or Government authorities state. It would be useful for the committee to give full consideration to what is put before it and to analyse critically any suggestions made to it before they are sent to the Department. I assure the committee that unlike in the past, committee reports will not be ignored. There will be a substantive response issued to the committee's report once it is received. Once the legislation has been published, the Bill will be subject to the usual legislative procedures in the Oireachtas and the committee will be given an opportunity on Committee Stage of debating the specific details in it.
Today is not so much about the detail of the legislation, because it has not yet been written, more about talking through the major changes in the legislation. I am looking forward to the committee's feedback in that regard. What we are considering today is a range of measures that will improve road safety. Once the Bill is enacted, mandatory breath testing for the lower drink driving limits approved under the 2010 Act can become operational, as can the preliminary impairment testing provisions of the 2010 Act. The scheme provides for new measures to be introduced for supporting inexperienced drivers and will instigate the necessary provisions for transforming and reforming the commercial vehicle testing and driving licensing systems.
This is the second piece of road traffic legislation that we have had this year, reflecting our intention to build on the momentum of recent years. The committee will be aware that 2010 recorded the lowest number of road deaths since records began in the 1950s, and I am hopeful that 2011 will see those figures being lower still. In the last decade alone, the Oireachtas has passed eight major pieces of legislation on traffic law. These have included the introduction of the fixed charge and penalty points systems, a new structure of speed limits based on metric values, the introduction of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints, the establishment of the Road Safety Authority and, more recently and perhaps more controversially, the roll-out of a network of privately operated safety cameras.
Earlier this year, as I mentioned, we introduced the Road Traffic Bill 2011. Arising from its enactment, it is now mandatory for a member of An Garda Síochána to test for alcohol if a driver has been involved in a road traffic collision where an injury has been caused. Mandatory breath testing now also applies where a member of the Garda is of the opinion that a driver has consumed alcohol. It is certainly no coincidence that deaths on our roads have been halved in the last decade.
The measures already outlined, with the dedication of relevant stakeholders, have harnessed a sea-change around attitudes to driving in Ireland. This has been recognised internationally. In June 2011, the European Transport Safety Council ranked Ireland sixth in the top performing EU countries compared with being seventh in 2010. As I stated earlier, the downward trend in road deaths appears to be continuing.
I will turn immediately to the eight main provisions that are in the Bill. A large part of the Bill is devoted to the consolidation of existing driver licensing legislation. Over the years, a significant amount of road safety legislation has been enacted. Under the road safety strategy, it was considered that it would be beneficial to all concerned if the various strands of legislation could be consolidated in one Act. This proposed Bill brings this a step further by bringing together provisions related to driver licences. That is restating existing legislation and there are no real changes in that regard.
Going through the eight major changes, firstly, in head 38, I am proposing that an enabling provision be included on the introduction of a plastic card driver licence. We are required under EU legislation to have in place a plastic card licence by 2013 and the Road Safety Authority, RSA, has begun preparations for its introduction. Many members have probably seen it already from people in the UK. It is like a small credit card. The provision in this Bill will allow for the making of regulations regarding the specific content of the new licence and administrative arrangements regarding its production and distribution. It is also my intention, as part of the overall introduction of the plastic card licence, to transfer responsibility for driver licensing generally from local authorities to the RSA.
The second major change is the graduated driver licence. It provides for some elements of the graduated driver licence system that the RSA launched in September of last year. In particular, it introduces the concept of a restricted or novice driving licence, which is a driving licence held by a driver in the two-year period after which he or she passes the driving test. Novice drivers will be required to display "R" plates for this two-year period and will, with learner drivers, be subject to higher penalty points than experienced drivers for certain offences. Some other elements of the graduated driver licence system are already in operation, such as the taking of compulsory driving instruction. I intend to provide for other elements, such as alternative sentencing options for judges, in future legislation.
The third part is mandatory breath testing. Another major issue addressed in the scheme is mandatory breath testing of drivers by the Garda at the soon to be introduced lower alcohol levels. Members will recall that the Road Traffic Act 2011, the first legislation approved by the new Dáil, provided for mandatory breath testing at the current alcohol levels. This scheme applies the same provisions but relates them to the lower levels of blood alcohol concentrations enacted under the Road Traffic Act 2010. I expect to commence the sections of that Act relating to the lower levels later this year when the apparatus for measuring the new levels has been tested and distributed to Garda stations. I am also proposing to strengthen the relevant section of the 2011 Act by providing that a blood specimen may be taken from a person who attends hospital after a road collision but, for medical reasons, is unable to give permission for the specimen to be taken. The specimen will be held but not analysed until the person is in a position to give consent. This is essentially the issue of an unconscious driver which Deputies Dooley, Broughan and Ellis raised when we were dealing with the 2011 Bill. That is now intended to be addressed in this Bill once it is drafted.
The fifth part is commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing. In heads 49 to 54, I am proposing to transfer responsibility for the operation and supervision of the commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing system from the local authorities to the RSA. The proposal is based on recommendations by consultants following a review a few years ago of the arrangements in place for roadworthiness testing of commercial vehicles. The review was undertaken following a number of high profile collisions, including the Kentstown bus crash, involving commercial vehicles. The overall objective is to make a step change in the quality of commercial vehicles using Irish roads and thereby help improve road safety, reduce congestion, develop a much greater awareness of road safety issues and improve the culture of safety within the transport industry.
The sixth part is a written statement of speeding offences. In head 55, I am providing that a written statement from a member of the Garda or a designated official would be produced in court as evidence in court proceedings for speeding offences. This would mean the garda or the designated official would no longer be required to attend at court for speeding offences, thus saving a considerable amount of Garda time. Of course, there may be difficulties in drafting that in such a way that it will be acceptable to the Attorney General and to the courts. However, the intention is to do that in this Bill.
The seventh part relates to enabling provisions for the use, detention and destruction of vehicles that are not roadworthy, and the eighth part relates to enabling provisions to allow for the regulation of electric and car club parking bays. In addition, there are a number of minor, technical amendments to previous legislation.
I look forward to discussing and debating the provisions of the Bill with Deputies and Senators when it is published. It is my hope that the Bill can be published quickly and that I can formally introduce it in both Houses after the summer recess. With this in mind, I would again ask that the committee make a submission to me on the proposals within the next month. I will report to Government and to the committee on any substantive additions or amendments that arise from this process.
I welcome the Minister to the committee. This is the first time the committee has had the Minister before it to discuss prospective legislation.
I very much welcome the Minister's initiative in publishing the heads of a Bill in advance and affording the committee the opportunity to discuss them in great detail and, through those discussions, to feed in to the legislation at a much earlier stage. That is the correct way to go and one which I welcome.
It poses a challenge for the committee. The Minister alluded to the way proposals in the past were dealt with by previous Ministers and, indeed, the Department. Much of that reflected perhaps on the way the committee treated the approach by seeking to hear the points of vested interests, package them by way of report and pass it to the Minister to be the final arbitrator. If we are to benefit from the proposed initiative, there is an onus on this committee to do more than act as a conduit for information. Departments will have heard the views of stakeholders and interested parties through their own consultative processes and this poses a challenge for us in terms of distilling and reporting submissions in a more effective way. We will ultimately reach a reasoned opinion of what changes should be made based on the views we hear.
I will not respond in detail to the issues raised because addressing them will be done after consultation with stakeholders and discussion among members. I acknowledge the approach the Minister is taking and my party will engage with the area of road safety in an open and non-confrontational manner. I wish him well in his continuing endeavours in that regard.
Before the Minister replies, I welcome the new approach he is taking to legislation. However, questions were raised on both sides of the table regarding how his objectives can be achieved. In light of our work schedule for dealing with issues pertaining to environment, transport, culture and the Gaeltacht, it is perhaps ambitious to expect this committee to prepare a report for the Minister before the end of the month. As Deputy Dooley noted, we will have to discuss the proposal at the end of our session, although I welcome the development. The meeting with CIE that has been arranged for next week is a reflection of our expanded role, which I also regard as a positive development.
I do not have much to say. I appreciate Deputy Dooley's remarks, which capture the spirit of what we are trying to achieve. This committee is the prototype for our new approach and I understand the Minister for Education and Skills will be taking a similar approach to education legislation. I look forward to hearing reasoned opinion from members because this is the best way the committee can influence legislation.
In regard to centralisation of the driving licence system, it is intended that the RSA will replace local authorities in administering the system. Is it proposed that the local authority staff who deal with driver licensing will simply transfer employer while remaining at the same locations? People living in the four Dublin local authority areas have grown used to applying for their licences in Smithfield. Will that arrangement continue and, if so, is it merely a question of the staff reporting to a different body? I understand Dublin City Council acts as an agent for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and recoups the administrative costs incurred.
I agree with the Minister about reducing road fatalities and serious injuries. Local authorities are at present involved in traffic management and road safety. Dublin City Council has managed to reduce speeds in several areas of the city centre even though the changes were not always popular. Surveys show the lower speed limits have reduced fatalities and serious injuries, including accidents involving pedestrians and motorists. Will that function remain with local authorities? Elected councillors currently play a role in formulating policy on traffic management and road safety and their involvement should not quickly be replaced by an autonomous body. Local democratic involvement in that process is necessary, especially when we are trying to persuade the public to accept the measures being proposed by the Minister. Some of the measures will inevitably be resisted but the involvement of local authority members helps to overcome objections. I accept that we are not going to discuss the Minister's proposals in detail today but these are important issues in respect of the management of road safety and driver licensing.
This is a worthwhile approach to our business because it is important for us to have an input. The Minister referred to the eight main provisions and mandatory breath testing has been discussed at length in the Dáil. However, while the Minister outlined his strategy for alcohol testing, we have not fully addressed the issue of testing for drugs.
In terms of penalty points there are a large number of provisional drivers on our roads, some of whom have had "L" plates for up to seven years. Mention was made of the two-year period but should we expand this timeframe to reduce the current substantial number of provisional drivers? How are we going to make them take tests and get full licences? Even the insurance companies are offering cover for drivers who have had provisional licences for several years.
I have long called for penalty points to be imposed on vehicles involved in illegal dumping. This would help to stamp out the practice, which is rampant in this city.
We all welcome being consulted at an earlier stage of the legislative process and I appreciate this is the first trial of the new approach. However, we only received the briefing document as we arrived at the meeting even though a significant number of issues arise. We do not know what many of the heads and sections refer to because the numbers are quite big and we only have a few of them. Therefore, while I welcome the new approach, it has its limits. I recognise that we are trying to get our business off the ground before the summer recess but, realistically, this is going to curtail the committee's involvement at this stage. I hope the reason for this limited involvement is simply because it is our first time to try this approach.
Without going into the details of the legislation, the initiatives on road safety appear to be grouped around licensing, a certain amount of roadworthiness of commercial vehicles and mandatory testing, which has already been discussed in the Dáil. Issues have arisen in respect of testing domestic and private vehicles. Is there scope for investigating roadworthiness in such vehicles or does the Minister believe the legislation in that area is sufficient? From an administrative point of view significant problems have arisen in the operation of testing centres. Does the legislation offer a basis for improving safety standards in these centres? In respect of compulsory instruction, can driver education be brought into the school curriculum or is that beyond the remit of the legislation? In short, how far can we go in terms of broadening out the issues arising?
I welcome the Minister and I wish him well in his new role. The information he has given demonstrates a common sense approach to addressing issues that have caused problems in regard to traffic management in recent years. I particularly welcome his attempts to reduce road fatalities by challenging the transport industry to accept more responsibility for maintaining vehicles and for driver fatigue and so on while also addressing the number of hours gardaí waste having to attend court for cases relating to speeding offences.
Deputy Ellis touched on testing drivers for the presence of illegal or legal drugs, something about which I feel strongly. Is the Minister examining how this could be addressed? We are all aware, anecdotally, of instances where people were under the influence of medication, which they had taken mistakenly and so on. The issue should be addressed and if that can be done under this legislation, all the better.
I will batch the final questions together. I have one or two questions. A plastic-based licensing system would be welcome. Penalty points are incurred currently if one is found not to be carrying one's licence while driving. The existing licence does not fit readily in one's pocket whereas the proposed new licence would be the size of a credit card and would be more suitable for carrying on one's person. That is a welcome development.
However, as is evident in the heads of the Bill, the number of offences for which penalty points are given is increasing. If a driver does not display a valid NCT certificate on his or her car, he or she incurs penalty points, but a number of years ago the NCT ceased informing drivers when their certificates were due for renewal. Could consideration be given to putting an obligation on the NCT to issue renewal notices? One of the difficulties is if a certificate is due to be renewed on 1 January 2012 and the driver is not contacted by the NCT, he or she could forget about it and everything could drift for a number of months. If he or she then renews the certificate in June 2012, the two-year period for the certificate will still begin on 1 January, not on 1 June. That is an issue for renewals. If a car is off the road for a period and is then put through the test, this time is added to the two-year renewal period. I hope there is room to examine this in the Bill.
The Minister mentioned the examination of people in hospitals and other locations following an accident and the obligation on them to submit to a blood test by a garda. Has he sought legal advice from the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality or legality of seeking a blood sample from somebody who is not in the vicinity of the suspected crime?
I will begin with Deputy Kenny's questions. The exact staffing arrangements and so on remain to be sorted out by my Department, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and local authorities. It looks like it will take approximately 60 staff to run the plastic card system. This compares with the need for 200 staff to run the current system and provide lamination and so on. Staff will be redeployed within local authorities under the Croke Park agreement. The 60 staff needed for the new system will be based with the RSA. The thinking is that this should operate similar to the passport system with drivers being able to renew their licences by mail through the post office. There will be significant savings by moving to this new system. We have to do this anyway under European law by 2013 but it makes sense because there will be savings. I am assured Ryanair will accept the new identification for flights. It does not accept the current paper licence. Licences will be renewed over time and, therefore, drivers will still be able to use their old licences until they come up for renewal but if they wish to purchase the new card, they will be able to do so. The Bill will contain an enabling provision to allow that to happen.
Nothing in the legislation changes the role of local authorities in traffic management, including the setting of speed limits and so on, and I have no plans to make changes in this regard. Local authority members are the appropriate people to carry out those functions rather than the Department or the RSA.
Deputy Ellis asked about penalty points. The idea in the heads of the Bill is to allow for double points to be applied to learner drivers who are within two years of getting their licence. If they are caught speeding, for example, they will receive double points and, as a result, would be disqualified much sooner. With regard to long-standing learner drivers who have done a test and so on, I will ask the RSA to examine this and come back to me with a report. It has not done so as of yet. I have not considered penalty points for illegal dumping. Perhaps the committee can consider this to establish whether it is feasible. I have yet to come across a penalty point offence that was not related to driving or the car itself but it is probably worth the committee's time to give consideration to this.
With regard to Deputy Daly's questions, I am confident the national car test, NCT, legislation is sound. The issues that have arisen are not legislative. Driving lessons are now compulsory and a driver must take 12 before he or she sits the test. It is part of the school curriculum, although it is not compulsory. We could not make it compulsory under this legislation but suggestions for additions to the legislation are welcome.
On the issue of drugs, there is not a satisfactory apparatus to test people. There is no drugs breathalyser. Technology is being tried out in Australia but it has not been developed in the EU. If it were available, we would use it. An evidential test for drug use is in place which relates to how the person performs at the scene. For example, he or she must walk the line and undergo past-pointing and other neurological tests.
On the issue of the NCT not informing drivers about renewals, I will have to take that up with the contractor. It should inform drivers. Drivers are notified about licence renewals. This does not need to be addressed in legislation but I will take it up with the contractor.
One of the downsides of bringing legislation to a committee this early is that a problem may arise, for example, with the issue of unconscious drivers. The heads of the Bill outline the principles on which we want to legislate. They will go to the Attorney General and the Parliamentary Counsel and it is possible that the Attorney General may come back and say we cannot provide for an unconscious person to give a sample. What is intended is that a sample would be taken from somebody who is unconscious but he or she would only be tested with his or her consent at a later stage. People obviously cannot give consent if they are unconscious or not medically fit to do so. We may find we cannot proceed with this provision when the Attorney General has considered it. That will be for Second Stage.
I welcome that the Minister has taken the opportunity to engage with the committee to give us a heads up regarding proposed legislation. This allows us to flag our concerns and to make a more detailed submission at a later stage.
I understand there was an anomaly in issuing penalty points to drivers carrying UK licences, for example, to drivers from Northern Ireland caught speeding in the Republic. Can the Minister confirm that anomaly has been or is being addressed? If not perhaps it will be addressed in the new legislation. I welcome the introduction of the plastic licensing card, a new, efficient and modern system we should have had for many years.
I am disappointed we have not made more progress on drug testing at checkpoints. The Minister mentioned that the technology may not be available. However, I understand that in many organisations new employees must undergo drug testing before being hired - I am not sure if it is by way of a blood test. Legislation should provide that in the event of an accident where blood is given, a test for drugs should also be carried out. There has been a major increase in drug use as outlined in the policing forums throughout the country. It is a problem we need to take seriously and address. It is not just about drink driving, there is also drug driving.
I believe Deputy Ellis proposed legislative sanction against people who dump vehicles or use vehicles that have reached the end of their lives. Much of the time they are valueless and people are disposing of them in a bad way occasionally to youths who rally them in woodlands or fields and they are subsequently dumped. We need to be able to sanction the last owners of such vehicles to ensure they take responsibility for their disposal. This legislation may offer such an opportunity.
Another member referred to the integrity of the NCT certification. In recent months we have heard of cases where certificates were issued improperly. What verification or auditing procedures does the Department have with regard to the roadworthiness of vehicles, including commercial vehicles? I understand the local authorities only administer the scheme and often private contractors issue the certificates. Is there any oversight of how those certificates are issued? Is there testing, auditing or spot checks on certificates being issued? We need to maintain the integrity of that system at all times and it is important it is not breached as we discovered recently with the NCT system.
Obviously I welcome this new procedure. Under the miscellaneous provisions of the Bill, will this committee have the opportunity to introduce certain amendments which will be basically simple housekeeping measures that appear to be omitted based on our experience? For example, the programme for Government proposes rolling out the bicycle scheme outside Dublin. An amendment would be required to allow service vehicles to use bus lanes. Can we address those elements within the miscellaneous provisions?
I welcome the Minister and his officials. A number of issues I wished to raise have already been raised by some of my colleagues. One of the major problems that must be addressed is the use of mobile phones while driving. We have talked about drugs and drink, with the reduction in the alcohol levels. I see it on a daily basis and people are telling me that drivers are not in control of their cars when their phones are to their ears or even listening to phones in their vehicles. How does the Minister propose to address this major issue?
In the event of an accident, are all people now tested at the scene of the accident rather than at the nearest Garda station? As Deputy Coffey has said, people should be tested for alcohol and drugs at the scene of the accident, whether it is a major or minor accident, because the timeframe is vital.
With the transfer of responsibilities for driving licences from the local authorities to the RSA, will there be a loss of revenue for the local authorities or will all the funding continue to go to central government from local authorities? There is a loss of revenue to the State when cars are not registered, having been off the road for a month or two. Perhaps the issue of wagons that are being signed for after one, two, three or even 12 months has been highlighted before. It has been brought to my attention that a considerable amount of money is being lost to the State as a result. How does the Minister propose to address this situation?
Will the commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing still be done? Many people are employed in garages throughout the country, although unfortunately not as many as before. Will the local garages still be responsible for the roadworthiness testing of these commercial vehicles? Will it be done locally or is the Minister proposing having designated garages in strategic areas rather than where they are at present having been appointed by the local authorities?
Some of the questions asked pertain to legislation and others do not. On the UK licence issue, there is now mutual recognition of disqualification, meaning that somebody disqualified in the UK is also disqualified here andvice versa. However, we do not have mutual recognition of our penalty points, which really cannot be done because the systems are different. A driver may get penalty points in the UK for an offence that will not give rise to penalty points here. In addition the number of penalty points for a particular offence may be different. It could only be done if there were a standardised penalty point system either across the European Union or between the UK and Ireland. It is an option we are considering, but it is not an option now.
On drug testing, I was referring to the fact that it is not really possible to test for drugs on the scene - there is no drug equivalent of the breathalyser. Where a sample is taken and analysed by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, in all cases it is tested for alcohol and drugs. That happens already where a blood or urine sample is taken, but it is not possible to test at the scene.
The Bill will contain a section on written-off vehicles and dumping. If the committee has proposals, we would be happy to consider them. I am not sure what legislative solution might be available for the issue of people dumping cars. Perhaps they could be required to be tagged in some way or traced back to a person. That might be a matter the committee would like to consider.
The NCTs are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the AA, including having cameras in the centres, etc. The commercial vehicle road testing is somewhat more haphazard. It is run by the local authorities and I understand it is generally outsourced to different garages; although I do not believe it is audited at the moment in the way the NCT is. That means the system may not be as robust as it should be. Once the RSA takes it over, it will be properly audited. It will be up to the RSA to decide which garages will do it and which ones will not. It may want to contract it out in the way it has done with the NCT or it may want to give the contracts to individual garages. That will be up to the RSA to decide.
It is already an offence to use or operate a mobile phone when driving a vehicle, so that is really an enforcement issue. It is only a driver who is tested at the scene; other people are not. The Garda Síochána is not at the scene of every crash. Mandatory testing applies where there has been an injury or where a garda forms an opinion that somebody has consumed alcohol. The one proviso in this is where it is considered prejudicial to the health of the person. If the person's health could be damaged or medical treatment delayed as a result of the test, it does not have to be done.
Revenue will not be lost to local authorities. With regard to the off-the-road issue, the estimates are this costs the State approximately €80 million a year, which is quite an amount. It does not fall under my remit, rather that of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, who is in charge of motor tax. He is aware of the issue and I imagine he will want to do something on it in due course.
I did not quite follow Deputy Humphreys's question. Was it about service vehicles using bus lanes?
It was with regard to housekeeping measures in the Dublin bike scheme. The vehicles which move the bikes around during busy times cannot use bus lanes. Would it be possible to table amendments in the miscellaneous provisions of the Bill to allow them use bus lanes?
These are the vehicles which-----
They are the vans which move the bikes from one place in the city to another. It would make the Dublin bike scheme more economical.
This could be done by regulation or statutory instrument. Will the Deputy write to me about it?
I will. I thank the Minister.
We will see if we can do it.
I thank the Minister and his officials for attending the committee and answering the questions raised. Committee Stage of the Bill will be before us in due course which will allow us to have a more detailed discussion on its provisions. However, I will take on board the Minister's suggestion that members of the committee forward additional information to him. Members of the select committee and interested Senators may wish to work together on something. We will discuss this at our next meeting.