Seanad debates

Thursday, 12 January 2012

11:00 am

Photo of Tom ShehanTom Shehan (Fine Gael)

Like Senator Quinn, I also like good news. However, I thought the best news that came from last year was from the Road Safety Authority in that the number of people killed on the roads was below 200 for the first time. While that is good news in itself, it is still unacceptable. Of the 185 people killed on our roads, an unfortunate point is that 48 were pedestrians.

I asked the Leader late in the last session that we would have the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to the House for a discussion on road safety. To have 48 pedestrians killed is a disproportionate number of lives to be lost. Over Christmas, I myself was quite fortunate that I did not kill three young people on the side of a dark, unlit country road because they were wearing dark coats and trousers without high visibility jackets. I got the fright of my life from the experience.

There is a feeling among the community that anybody who is unfortunate enough to knock somebody down on the roads is nearly always to blame - either the driver was speeding, the driver had drink taken or the driver this or the driver that. Given the number of people who are walking our roads in pure blackness, wearing dark clothes, it should be a criminal offence not to wear a high visibility vest when walking the roads at night.

I ask the Leader to arrange for the Minister to come to the House for a discussion on road safety. While it is good news that the number of fatalities on the roads has reduced to under 200 for the first time since records began, it is still an unacceptable level and the figure of 48 pedestrians killed on the roads is unacceptable.


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