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Tougher measures needed to reduce road deaths - Doherty

24 December, 2008

Following the tragic road death of a teenager in Leitrim last night Sinn Féin Transport and Road Safety Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has added his voice to appeals from Gardaí, the Road Safety Authority, AA Roadwatch and the Taoiseach for people to pay attention to road safety over the festive period. Senator Doherty criticised the government for failing to put in place the necessary legislation and measures needed to reduce the number of deaths on our roads.

The Donegal Senator said:

"In order to reduce road deaths over the festive period I would urge everyone to listen to the advice of the Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority and pay attention to road safety. Drivers should keep their speed down and ensure that everyone wears thier seatbelt. While this is a time for celebration people should never get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol and the use of designated drivers is advisable.

"Sinn Féin supports a zero alcohol limit for drivers in order to reduce the risk of deaths or accidents on our roads. A zero limit policy would eliminate the current confusion around how much one can drink before being over the limit.

"However, the government has failed to introduce legislation to reduce the blood alcohol limit. This failure is costing lives. The existing legislation allows for people to go to the pub this Christmas, have a drink and then legally get behind the wheel of a car. That is the stark reality.

"However, while advocating a zero limit policy for drivers I am extremely conscious of the effect this has on rural Ireland where public transport infrastructure is sparse. The government should not allow a situation to develop where rural residents are isolated because they cannot drive to the local pub.

"With the introduction of a zero alcohol limit for drivers must be a commitment from government to once and for all adequately invest in rural transport infrastructure.

"Speed is another major factor of road deaths. Currently Garda speed cameras are heavily concentrated on motorways. In Sinn Féin's annual submission to the Garda Policing Plan we advised that speed cameras should be deployed strategically at identified places of highest risk and that local communities should have an input into this process.

"Sinn Féin also advised that training for Gardaí in detecting and proving drug impaired driving should also be rolled out." ENDS

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