Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Education must be key tool in fight against road carnage - Ferris

11 July, 2006

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called for Road Safety Programmes to be introduced in schools. He said the programmes should include talks by road traffic victims and driver education courses. Deputy Ferris was speaking today after a cyclist became the twelfth victim of the state's roads in just two days.

Deputy Ferris said, "The state's road death toll now stands at 216 -- 21 more than this time last year. Behind every one of these deaths lies a devastated and heartbroken family trying to make sense of what is often a senseless and avoidable tragedy.

"Transport Minister Martin Cullen needs to consult with Education Minister Mary Hanafin with a view to introducing Road Safety Programmes in schools, maybe even as part of curriculum. These should include talks by road traffic victims and driver education courses. Education must be a key tool in the fight against the carnage on our roads. Offender punishment alone will not work.

"There also needs to be a re-targeting of Garda resources. Instead of adopting a 'shooting fish in a barrel' approach in relation to setting up high visibility speed traps on our motorways these resources should be aimed at the areas and times when accidents are known to happen. Over 40% of accidents occur on just 7% of the roads in this state. Many of these accidents occur on non-primary routes, in the small hours of the morning as pubs and nightclubs shut. This is one area where the enforcement of existing regulations and laws needs to be rigorously pursued.

"Driving lessons should be made affordable to all people and their uptake should be encouraged and driver testers should be regulated - at present anyone can put a sign over their car and 'teach'. Many of the state's road surfaces also need to be improved and public transport should be extended to take into account the closing times of pubs and clubs particularly in rural areas.

"All of this should be done without delay. We have had enough PR stunts by this Minister -- we need rapid action to prevent further unnecessary carnage on our roads. Laws are worth nothing if they are not implemented." ENDS

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