Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 30 May 2001

Vol. 537 No. 3

Written Answers. - Road Safety.

Willie Penrose


95 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the number of persons killed and injured in road traffic accidents during 2000 and 2001 to date; if, in regard to the Government strategy on road safety, he will list those commitments which have been implemented and those which have yet to be acted on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15968/01]

Deirdre Clune


96 Ms Clune asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the progress made in implementing the road safety strategy. [15906/01]

Ivor Callely


172 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the measures that are under consideration to improve road safety; the measures that have been agreed; the timescale for such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14582/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95, 96 and 172 together.

The Government Strategy for Road Safety 1998-2002, the first ever national road safety strategy to be adopted by an Irish Government, has prioritised 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, seat belt wearing and vulnerable road users. 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, and second progress report, August 2000, detail progress with key actions. Copies of both reports have been circulated to all Deputies and are also available in the Oireachtas Library. The second progress report shows that real and worthwhile gains are being made in road safety within the framework of the Government strategy. Road deaths decreased by 59, or nearly 13%, between 1997 and 1999 relative to the strategy target of a 20% minimum reduction by 2002. Serious injuries decreased in the same period by over 15% relative to a similar reduction target of 20% by end 2002. The interim targets fixed by the strategy for achievement by 2000 have been well met. A third progress report will be published this summer.
Progress is also ahead of target in extending low cost accident measures across the national road network, with 268 schemes completed by end 2000 and a further 88 approved. On the other hand, recent NRA surveys have shown that considerable improvement will be needed in order to achieve road safety targets for reducing speeding and increasing seat belt wearing. There was also a small increase in the number of road deaths in 2000 over 1999.
Garda enforcement activity has been intensified and improved in accordance with the road safety strategy. More than 224,000 on the spot fines issued for speeding offences in 2000, compared to 175,000 in 1999 and 130,000 in 1998. Fixed speed cameras are in operation on four of the main national routes out of Dublin and on the M50. Speed limit enforcement is also being supported by an increase in mobile speed detection, the use of laser speed detection as well as in-car and motorcycle cameras. At the end of 2000, approximately 84,000 on the spot fines had been issued for non-wearing of seat belts since the introduction of this measure in July 1999. The number of detections for drink driving in 2000 increased by 24% over 1998. Evidential breath testing was ahead of target by end of 2000 with 25 instruments in operation.
The road safety strategy envisages a penalty points system in support of road safety enforcement. The legislation necessary for this measure was published in March 2001. My Department is also working to ensure the availability of a national driver file, complete with penalty points functionality, within the present year. Provisional Garda figures indicate that there were 415 road deaths in 2000. Provisional returns for this year show that in the first quarter 122 people were killed in road accidents, compared with 138 in the first quarter of 2000.
Ensuring compliance with the targets of the road safety strategy will command the full effort and support of the Government and its agencies. By reference to the estimates set out in the strategy in 1998, more than 100 lives are now being saved each year as a result of implementing the strategy, compared to a continuation of trends prior to 1998.