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DoE Committee urges Minister to improve road safety

18 August, 2008 - by Cathal Boylan

The Assembly Committee for the Environment has responded to Minister Sammy Wilson, MLA, on a raft of measures to improve safety on the North's roads.

Responding to DoE proposals to review the current road safety strategy, the Committee urged the Minister to ensure the drink-driving limit is strictly enforced. The Committee also welcomed the publication of a revised version of the highway-code.

After engaging with stakeholders and interested groups, the Committee Vice Chairperson, Mr Cathal Boylan, MLA, said:

"Reducing the number of road fatalities and injuries has to be the number one priority. The Committee strongly encourages measures which make the Norths roads safer.

The Committee, in its response to the Minister, also indicated support for:

  • The introduction of a learner driver logbook
  • Increased alcohol and drugs awareness programmes
  • Experience of motorway driving for learners
  • Proposals for a Graduated Fixed Penalty and Deposit Scheme
  • The principle of graduated penalties for speeding drivers
  • The proposal for mutual recognition of driving disqualifications and lesser offences North and South

It also recommended that the Minister introduce a practical Road Safety education programme to make children and young people aware of all road dangers.

The Newry and Armagh Assembly member added:

"The Committee engaged in extensive consultation with many interested groups and thank them for their contribution on what is a major issue of concern within communities throughout Ireland. We feel it is imperative that the drink driving limit is enforced on both sides of the border to ensure consistency.

"Sinn Féin have consistently said that the issue of Road safety is an All Island issue and that more co operation is needed to dramatically cut the number of accidents and fatalities which occur, some of the proposals coming out of this consultation support this view.

"Already this year over 67 people have died on the Norths roads, added to the 175 people who have lost their lives in the 26 Counties, that is 242 who have tragically been taken away from loved ones and friends, the impact of a road death whether it be in Cork or Derry, Galway or Armagh, Belfast or Dublin is the same; the grief felt neither knows or recognises an invisible border.

"The issue of Road Safety is a problem for the whole of Ireland and should be dealt with on that basis." ENDS

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