Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Road Safety Strategy: Discussion
I welcome the witnesses and hope that they have a good working relationship with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Shane Ross. The Minister and Ms Murdock have both given the committee substantial documents which are full of statistics. I want to raise the issue of the condition of our roads because there is no mention of it in the aforementioned documents. I have received texts from people who have been watching today's proceedings asking if the witnesses know that bad roads cause accidents. Ms Murdock's document makes reference to speeds signs and control. Would she acknowledge that our road infrastructure is well behind that of other countries? While there was an increase in fatalities last year, there was also a substantial increase in the number of vehicles on the road. There are more vehicles on the road now and there is far more congestion. I see that when I am travelling up and down to Dublin. Every week when I am travelling home the N8 is blocked up because of crashes at the Naas interchange due to excessive traffic volumes. It is fine to talk about road safety and putting measures in place to improve our safety record but if we are to reach our targets in that regard we need a proper road network.
Driver education is not going far enough. There there have been a number of fatalities on the M8 caused by vehicles accessing the motorway from the wrong direction. How do we eliminate those kinds of problems? This might seem like a stupid question but it must be posed in order to clarify the situation for people. The witnesses made reference to drink-related crashes. Let us take the example of a car that is parked on the side of the road, the driver of which has alcohol taken. Let us say that he or she has an alcohol level of 40 mg or 50 mg per 100 ml blood. If the parked car is hit by a sober driver, that is a Garda incident but is it a drink-driving incident?