Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (99, 100)

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

160 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether confusion exists as to the entitlement of motorists to use the hard shoulder between motorway and non-motorway roads; and his further views on whether it is in the interests of road safety to clarify this confusion and to apply similar regulations to both. [6824/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

There are clear distinctions between the rules governing the use of motorways and other roads and I am not aware of difficulties being experienced by motorists in the use of hard shoulders on motorways as distinct from all other roads. The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 to 1998 establish that vehicles are prohibited from using the hard shoulders on motorways. The only exception to that rule occurs where a vehicle is broken down, on which occurrence the driver is required to obtain assistance to facilitate the early removal of the vehicle from the motorway.

No similar prohibitions apply to roads other than motorways. Hard shoulders on such roads serve a number of functions, including the facilitation of pedestrians, cyclists and slow moving vehicles, all of which are not allowed to enter a motorway. I will arrange for a review of the traffic and parking regulations to be undertaken later this year and, in that context, I will examine any submission the Deputy wishes to make about the issue raised in this question.

Question No. 161 answered with QuestionNo. 134.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

162 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport the expected publication date of the blueprint for improved truck safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6774/04]

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I have no plans for the publication of a document concerned specifically with truck safety. The Programme for Government states that a three year road safety strategy will be developed and will target speeding, drink driving, seatbelt wearing and pedestrian safety in order to reduce deaths and injuries. The strategy will outline a range of issues that it is intended will be pursued over the three year period 2004-06. In overall terms, measures will focus on the areas of education, enforcement, engineering and legislation and will target the key areas of speeding, driving while intoxicated and seatbelt wearing. The strategy will set targeted reductions in the numbers of deaths on the roads and implementation of the measures set out in the strategy will lead to increased safety on the roads for all road users, including truck drivers. I expect the strategy to be published shortly.

I am committed to ensuring that vehicles used on Irish roads conform to high safety standards both in terms of the vehicles themselves and the driving of them. Vehicle safety is being addressed primarily through the implementation of EU measures and the updating of national regulations. Safety standards for new motor vehicles are constantly being improved through the operation of the EU motor vehicle type approval system, which specifies harmonised standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle components in the EU, and is reflected in the setting of revised standards for new vehicle entry into service. Vehicle testing also makes a valuable contribution to road safety by identifying defective vehicles and by developing an appreciation of the importance of regular service and proper maintenance of vehicles.

Question No. 163 answered with QuestionNo. 127.