Dáil debates

Wednesday, 18 October 2006


Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006: Second Stage (Resumed).

7:00 pm

Tony Gregory (Dublin Central, Independent)

I support the Bill. In the context of its contents I had an interesting experience this morning in that I was involved in a minor road traffic accident. The car that hit me was travelling around a bend on the wrong side of the continuous white line. This was clearly evident in that the car came to a halt on the wrong side of the road and the driver, who was very nice about it, accepted full responsibility. When the gardaí arrived, all of this was pointed out to them and they informed me that it was no concern of theirs and that if I wished to pursue the matter — which I did not — I would have to take out a prosecution myself as they had not witnessed the crash.

Their only concern appeared to be to get the car involved over to the side of the road out of the way of oncoming traffic. They had no interest at all in the significance of the position of the car on the wrong side of the road. I was assured then by several gardaí that the only purpose a garda has at the scene of an accident is to check that both drivers have current driving licences and insurance. In my innocence, I thought all this quite strange but like most people I was not interested in pursuing private prosecutions. That was not the point at all. I just thought the Garda would be interested. I thought it was the job of the Garda to interest itself in that type of issue.

Perhaps if the measure contained in the Bill regarding mandatory breath testing of drivers involved in road traffic accidents were introduced it would result in other aspects of traffic accidents being more carefully examined by the Garda. That was not necessary in this morning's case. If the evidence at the scene of the accident, not to mention the admission of the driver, suggests that careless or dangerous driving was involved, then the Garda should have a role in pursuing that because they are clearly breaches of the law.

I had to wait nearly an hour and a half for the Garda to arrive this morning simply because the nearest Garda car, which was a couple of minutes away, was not from the relevant Garda district and was not allowed to come to the scene and take the details. I would love to speak longer on my experience this morning.


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