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Establishment of Road Safety Commissioner could help make our roads safer- Cannon

30th October 2023 - Ciaran Cannon TD

The establishment of a Road Safety Commissioner which is independent and has legislative powers could help make our roads safer, according to a Fine Gael TD.

Galway Deputy Ciaran Cannon said one single body needs to assume responsibility for an overarching road safety strategy given the worrying trend of increasing road fatalities on our roads.

Deputy Cannon, who recently raised the matter in the Dáil, said: “In three out of the last four years, we have experienced an increase in road-related fatalities and serious accidents.

“According to recent figures from the Road Safety Authority, 155 people have lost their lives on our roads this year and in the past seven years, 1,600 cyclists have been seriously injured.

“In performing his role, the Minister of State with responsibility for road transport currently engages with the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, two Departments, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, local authorities and other different bodies, all of which have road safety functions within their remit.

“What is needed is one individual or office with the legislative power and resources to pull all of these functions together to make our roads safer for each and every individual who uses them.

“The proposed Commissioner should have absolute independence and have powers underpinned by legislation to gather data across a number of sources so that we know exactly why people are losing their lives on our roads every day.

“They need powers to question the performance of the Gardaí, elected office holders and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, with regard to our responsibility to ensure our roads are safe places to be.

“It needs to be able to research, carry out analysis of road safety programmes in other jurisdictions – road safety initiatives that work – and have the powers to have those initiatives introduced here with the minimum of delay.

“We have appointed Commissioners to focus on challenges or shortcomings in other sectors, and I believe the issue of road safety needs a targeted initiative like that right now.

“There must also be greater enforcement of our current road safety laws, and if the Gardai needs more resources to do that in terms of manpower and technology, then we need to ensure that those resources are put in place.

“Every death has a devastating impact on families and communities throughout the country, with every injury having potentially life-changing consequences.

“We must examine all options to reverse the current trend of increasing fatalities and injuries with a single, all-encompassing response with the sole responsibility of road safety,” Deputy Cannon said.

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