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Single Road Safety Strategy for island of Ireland essential

26 June, 2008

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan, who is vice chair of the Assembly's Road Safety Committee, has said that whilst news that any driving ban would apply throughout the island of Ireland as well as in England, Scotland and Wales was to be welcomed, it was essential that the island of Ireland had an overall single strategy for road safety.

Mr Boylan said:

"We are dealing with the same road-safety issues, and there are a large number of accidents and casualties on many of the roads that are shared between the North and the South.

"The news today is another example of co-operation, however there is a need for harmonisation on other serious issues such as alcohol limits, ways to tackle speeding and cross-border educational initiatives.

"Sinn Féin has called for zero tolerance, not only in the Twenty-six Counties, but across Ireland. Anyone who is travelling North or South with a pint on them could be dealt with in the same way, North and South, if there were one set of measures.

"We believe that there should be zero tolerance of drink-driving throughout Ireland, but that that will be possible only if we harmonise legislation on an all-Ireland basis. There also needs to be continued increased North/South ministerial co-operation to look at the following: a single road safety authority; a harmonisation of speed limits and road signs; an all-Ireland licensing system; a common penalty points system; the fitting of safety-compliant speed inhibitors on all new cars; increased provision of night-time public transportation; full-time posts for road safety and road education officers throughout the island.

"There is also a need to look at practices in other European countries such as making it compulsory to drive with headlights on all day in order to increase vehicle visibility." ENDS

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