Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Road Safety

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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54. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to provide an update on his Department’s efforts to increase road safety and reduce road fatalities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28197/24]

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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The Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2021–2030, which was published in December 2021, has the target of reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% this decade and achieving Vision Zero by 2050. Vision Zero has been adopted across the EU and aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

The strategy is currently in Phase 1, which runs to the end of 2024, with close to 200 actions underway or already completed. Notable deliverables to date include the publication of the Speed Limit Review in September 2023, which was also a commitment in the current Programme for Government, and the publication of an updated National Cycle Manual. Work is currently underway to implement the first set of new default speed limits—of 60km/h on rural, local roads—before the end of the year.

A range of targeted measures have been put in place in recent months to help reverse the current increase in fatalities such as the enactment of the Road Traffic Act 2024 in April, commencement of 30 minutes high-visibility roads policing per shift for all uniformed members of An Garda Síochána, and significantly increased spending on public awareness campaigns by the RSA. The Road Traffic Act introduces mandatory drug testing at the scene of serious traffic collisions and reforms the penalty points system so motorists receive multiple sets of penalty points where multiple offences are committed.

A number of high-impact actions have also been prioritised for delivery in the second half of 2024, including the rollout of three new average speed camera zones, publication of a national safety camera strategy, commencement of safer default speed limits on rural, local roads, and tackling the multiple learner permit issue. Work has also commenced on reviewing the driver curriculum, and funding has been allocated to media, education and awareness campaigns.

In addition to closing out Phase 1 of the strategy in 2024, the Phase 2 Action plan is under development, which will target impactful actions under the safe system approach for the period 2025 - 2027.

In order to ensure road user advocates have the opportunity to contribute to the Phase 2 Action Plan, my Department together with the Road Safety Authority are in the process of establishing a new Road User Safety Forum, comprising road users and road safety advocates.

Whilst I appreciate it is of little comfort to those whom have lost loved ones on the roads, the trend in the year to date has been downwards, with an average of just under 20 fatalities per month in the first quarter of 2024 followed by a monthly average of 11 in the second quarter of this year. Notwithstanding recent tragic accidents, the reduction does coincide with the measures outlined above.

Road safety is a foremost priority for me and this Government. Everyone is entitled to use our roads and, importantly, to be safe on our roads.

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