Monday 8th January 2017
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross has today appointed two new, pioneering Board members to the Road Safety Authority. The two new directors are in the area of Road Safety Advocacy; Ms Donna Price and Ms Gillian Treacy.
The Minister said “I am delighted that our new Board members are active in the area of Road Safety Advocacy. Their bravery in the face of personal tragedy has already inspired others and made many aware of the significant dangers on our roads. Their passion and their personal experiences will drive the board to take further measures in pursuit of saving lives.”
In addition, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has published a mid-term evaluation report, undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2013–2020, incorporating a review of the strategy targets and actions.
The purpose of conducting an evaluation of the strategy at the mid-point of its term is to assess Ireland’s performance in delivering on the 144 actions across education, enforcement, engineering and evaluation set out in the strategy, and measure Ireland’s performance relative to the strategy’s targets to reduce fatalities to 124 or fewer and serious injuries to 330 or fewer by 2020.
The report advocates a ‘back to basics’ approach, in terms of targeting killer behaviours, noting that a pragmatic approach must be taken in light of the following factors:
- Reduced human and financial resources across many stakeholder organisations
- Increased economic activity and more vehicles on the road, which increases the level of risk exposure
The report also notes that resources must be found to equip:
- An Garda Síochána to provide the necessary level of targeted and visible enforcement to reduce the incidence of speeding, drink-driving, non-seat belt wearing and mobile phone use while driving
- Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to maintain and renew the existing roads network
Minister Shane Ross said: “While I am encouraged by the progress outlined to date in the mid-term evaluation report, I acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to ensure all 144 actions are completed. The implementation and completion of these strategic actions will be essential if we are to achieve the target of 124 fatalities or fewer by 2020. While one death is one death too many, this would mean achieving a 22% reduction in fatalities between now and 2020. That will not happen unless we can continue to increase Garda resources and powers, as well as the penalties for the main killer behaviours like drink driving, speeding and mobile phone use while driving. Maintaining the existing national road network is another important action in the report.”
Also commenting on the report, Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA, said: “It is very encouraging to see that most actions set out in the Government’s Road Safety Strategy have either been completed or are on schedule. However the number one priority action in the Mid Term Review is to increase garda numbers in the Road Policing Unit, by 10% year on year, to bring numbers up to 997 by 2020 from its current level of 681. While no additional numbers were deployed to roads policing in 2017 the Gardaí have made a commitment to allocate an additional 150 new gardai to roads policing in 2018. These additional resources must be deployed as a matter of urgency and at the earliest opportunity if we are to achieve the target of 124 fatalities or fewer by 2020.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: “The Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2013–2020 identifies a number of critical success factors which remain relevant as identified in the mid-term evaluation. Some of these factors include the introduction of necessary legislation, the provision of required funding, mass media support, maintenance of our roads network as well as high-level, visible, roads policing. While reaching 124 fatalities or fewer will be challenging, it is imperative to restate our commitment toward this target. Ireland must remain committed to the existing target to have the best chance of closing the gap with the best practice countries and reducing the human and societal costs of road collisions.”
The evaluation of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2013–2020 is provided for under Action 112 of the strategy which requires that the RSA “conduct a mid-term evaluation of the Road Safety Strategy 2013–2020 in 2016, incorporating a review of the strategy targets and actions”.
To date this year, 2 persons have been killed on Irish roads, a decrease of 1 when compared to the same period last year. Last year – 2017 – was the safest year on Ireland’s roads since road deaths were first recorded in 1959, with 158 deaths recorded. Previously, 2015 (with 162 deaths) was the safest year on record.