Road Traffic Bill leads the way for further life-saving legislation

Speaking in the Dáil today (Thursday) on the Road Traffic Bill 2011 Deputy Alan Farrell, Fine Gael TD for Dublin North has outlined key issues that must be addressed in the pursuit of road safety.

Commenting on the new mandatory testing and the reduction in the legal limit of alcohol, Deputy Farrell commended the new measures as a necessary piece of legislation introduced to save lives. “By now the dangers of drink driving have devastated enough families and communities around the country to justify toughening up on legislation.

“My family is just one of many that has experienced tragedy due to drink driving. I am sure that newly qualified Gardaí leaving Templemore do not look forward to the day when they have to break the news about the death of a loved one to a grieving mother or father due to irresponsible and dangerous driving habits.

This legislation is a step in the right direction, but there are a number of key issues that need to be addresses to ensure improved road safety throughout the county.

“This is about saving lives and to ensure safe driving conditions, the speed limits on all roads must be fit for purpose. There are thousands of kilometres of rural roads all around the country with inappropriate speed limits. We have national roads with sharp bends and poor visibility that have a speed limit of up to 100km per hour, and on the other end of the scale, a dual carriageway at Dublin Airport with a limit of 50km per hour. I would encourage joined up thinking for the implementation and standardising of speed limits across the country.

The culture of fearless and reckless young people on the road is paramount for the safety on our roads, and need to be tackled through various measures.

“I would urge the Minister to look seriously at the issue of drug testing for future legislation on road safety.

“I am also of the view that by introducing measures to limit car modifications, we can discourage the intimidating and dangerous boy racer type culture that lies at the crux of 1 in 3 road deaths relating to speed.

“It is imperative that we start to educate people at a young age about the real threat of dangerous driving, to give them a fundamental understanding about what is expected of them when they are on the road. As Mayor of Fingal I participated in a Road Safety Programme showing students footage of accidents and the after effects, and I think these shock tactics are what will reaffirm their responsibilities when they take to the wheel.

“Driving is a right but it is also a privilege. One death due to speeding, drugs or alcohol is one death too many I think the Road Traffic Bill as a significant step in the right direction.”