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Government failing to improve road safety - Crowe

26 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe has expressed his deep concern at a new report to be issued by the European Transport Safety Council today which will place this state near the bottom of EU member states on road safety.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "It is extremely worrying that Ireland has one of the poorest road safety records of all EU member states and doubly shocking that according to the report we are one of four countries that not made any noteworthy progress since 2001. France, Luxembourg and Belgium have been able to cut road deaths by over 25% according to the report, yet 276 people have lost their lives on this state's roads this year, no improvement from last year.

"The Government has stood idly by while our roads becoming more dangerous. Sinn Féin proposes a comprehensive all-Ireland approach to road safety. It makes no sense to have different road signs, driver education and speed limits on this small island.

"Driver education is key, and we propose that it should become part of the school curriculum. There also needs to be a reform of the provisional licence system to encourage driver training and practice instead of widespread test avoidance. The driving test backlog of 140,000 also needs to be cleared, with people having to wait up to a year in my own constituency.

"Driving instructors should be regulated as set out in the Road Safety Act. This measure will prevent the current situation, which is nothing short of scandalous whereby a driver can put a sign on the roof of their car and 'teach' the public how to drive. In addition driving lessons should be made affordable to boost uptake.

"There needs to be high visibility deterrents to combat bad driving behaviour such as speeding. Check points and speed cameras should be deployed in risk areas with accident black spots rather than largely concentrating on major roads. We need these measures to improve road safety not merely collect guaranteed revenue for the state.

"A single avoidable death on our roads is one too many. As many people are forced to purchase private cars due to the incompetency of this government's public transport management, it is the government's duty at least to ensure that the roads on which they drive are safe."


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