Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 25 May 2000

Vol. 519 No. 7

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Ivor Callely


34 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to any Garda research or studies on serious and fatal road accidents which indicate a need to address issues such as engineering and road design; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14593/00]

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin


36 Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the action he intends to take arising from the recent reports of the National Roads Authority showing high levels of speeding and non-compliance with seat belt legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14698/00]

Brian O'Shea


58 Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if, in regard to the recommendations contained in the road safety strategy document published in August 1998, he will outline the recommendations that have been implemented and the ones that remain to be acted upon; the reason the long promised penalty point system for road offences has not been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14701/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 36 and 58 together.

The Government strategy for road safety 1998-2002 prioritises a systematic and co-ordinated set of measures for preventing and reducing road accidents. It establishes quantified targets for achieving its objectives, the principal of which is to reduce road deaths and serious injuries each by at least 20% by 2002 relative to 1997. Priority is accorded by the strategy to actions targeted at speeding, alcohol and seat belt wearing. A timetable for key actions in these and other areas is also set out.

The Government strategy is monitored by the high level group on road safety whose first progress report – July 1999 – inter alia details progress with these key actions. Copies of that report were circulated to all Deputies and are also available in the Oireachtas Library. A second progress report, incorporating updated information on key actions, will be published by July 2000.

My Department is not aware of any recently published report by the Garda in relation to research or study of serious and fatal road accidents. However, in relation to engineering and road design, the Government strategy for road safety envisages the treatment by the NRA of a minimum of 400 high accident locations on national roads by 2002. Good progress is being made on this measure with 191 schemes completed at end 1999 and a further 100 scheduled for completion by end 2000. This programme is now also being extended to non-national roads with provision of £500,000 being made in the current year to begin similar engineering measures on this network.
The recently published findings of the NRA national speed survey, 1999, demonstrate that considerable progress remains to be made to achieve road safety targets in these vital areas. Relevant measures envisaged by the Government strategy have been deployed since the survey was carried out. Fixed speed cameras are now in operation within the Dublin and eastern regions. Garda enforcement activity against speeding has also been intensifying, with over 170,000 on-the-spot fines issued in relation to speeding offences in 1999 and more than 70,000 to end April this year.
On-the-spot fines for non-wearing of seat belts have also been commenced by the Garda since the NRA survey was carried out, with some 25,000 such fines issued in late 1999 and over 18,000 so far this year.
The need for further action to support the achievement of stated targets for speeding and seat belt wearing will be addressed in the second progress report on the Government strategy for road safety.
The scheme of a new road traffic Bill is being drafted in my Department with the principal purpose of providing for a penalty points system. However the design of the system has, as stated in the strategy, required careful consideration because of the exclusive constitutional role of the Irish courts in the administration of justice. Following protracted examination of this legal issue, I hope shortly to be in a position to submit legislative proposals to Government with a view to the earliest possible publication of a Bill.