Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Assembly to debate Road deaths

5 January, 2007


Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Raymond McCartney MLA has welcomed the Assembly debate on Road Safety next week.

The Transitional Assembly will debate a Sinn Féin motion on Road Safety next Tuesday morning, 9th January.

Mr McCartney said:

"The slight decrease in the number of people killed on our roads does not disguise the fact that we need to much more, because when nearly 500 people die on Irish roads in any year there is something very seriously wrong.

"All local politicians must play a full role debating how we tackle this tragedy that affects hundreds of families across this island every year. We need to look at how we change driver behaviour through education and driver testing, we need to look at how we effectively enforce road safety and we need to look at how we can make our roads safer.

"It is time to stop considering traffic deaths and injuries as an unavoidable consequence of road use: they are preventable.

"The two key two pillars of the new thinking about road safety outlined by the World Health Authority are that we must:

· Refuse to accept death and severe injuries as consequences of traffic crashes;

· To adapt the roads to people's vulnerability.

"There are solutions to the road safety problem. A wide range of effective interventions exists, and experience has shown that a scientific, 'systems approach' to road safety is essential to tackling the problem. This approach addresses the traffic system as a whole and looks at the interactions between vehicles, road users and the road infrastructure to identify solutions.

"There is no single blueprint for road safety. Interventions and strategies that work in one setting may need to be adapted elsewhere. We need to focus specifically on interventions relating to key the many factors that cause road traffic deaths and injuries including:

· Driving speed, where excess speeds account for some 30% of road traffic accidents and deaths

· Alcohol and Drug misuse

· Seatbelts and child restraints, where Seatbelts reduce fatal or serious injury by 40-65% and Child restraints reduce infant deaths by 71% and deaths in young children by 54%.

· Visibility

· Making our roads safer

ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin has tabled a motion for debate in the transitional Assembly in the name of Michelle Gildernew MP MLA and Raymond McCartney MLA.

Road Safety

That this Assembly notes the ongoing tragedy of deaths and serious accidents on our roads and calls on an incoming Executive to introduce a new rigorous Driver Testing framework and a Road Safety and Education programme, with the emphasis on groups most likely to be involved in road traffic accidents reflecting international best practice, and including co-operation between all Road Safety agencies, North and South, in carrying out a safety audit of the road network and the development of a National Road Safety Campaign.

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