We need meaningful Government action on road safety

15 May 2024

Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Duncan Smith TD criticised the Government for its lack of urgent action on road safety, despite not opposing Labour’s Dáil motion today.

Deputy Smith said

“Years of positive road safety trends are being reversed, and we are far past the time for working groups and mere expressions of concern. We need urgent action and adequate resourcing from Government to tackle this issue head-on. Although Government didn’t oppose Labour’s Dáil motion today, the lack of concrete action speaks volumes.

“Road safety is spiralling out of control. The 73 traffic fatalities this year represent a 30% increase on 2023, marking the worst total in nearly a decade. The Government’s inaction is costing lives, and we cannot afford to wait any longer for meaningful change.

“It is very concerning that the Government’s big idea is to mandate all uniformed Gardaí to conduct 30 minutes of road safety policing per shift. Is this seriously the best we can do right now? This approach is insufficient given the scale of the problem. We need comprehensive and sustained efforts, not token gestures.

“The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has also failed to address these issues effectively. Just last month, over 30 road safety advocacy groups declared no confidence in the RSA, stating that it is no longer fit for purpose and focuses on those with the least capacity to make a difference. We need a serious conversation about the failings of the RSA and a complete overhaul to ensure it can meet the challenges we face.

“Additionally, road maintenance is a critical aspect that the Government needs to prioritise. Tackling road safety requires a multifaceted approach, and the conditions of our roads are a significant factor. The Government must allocate sufficient resources to ensure our roads are safe and well-maintained.

“Separate to this motion, I have written to the Taoiseach and asked him to prioritise the Protection of Accident Victims from Non-Consensual Recording of Images Bill 2022, which I introduced two years ago. This bill would criminalise the disgraceful practice of recording accident victims without their consent. I urge the Minister to consider accelerating this important piece of legislation.

“These worrying trends can be reversed. We have shown before that it is possible to arrest such trends, and there is a responsibility on us as elected officials to achieve this again. We want to see the Government working with us and other opposition parties to implement effective road safety measures and protect our citizens. It is time for decisive action, not empty promises.”

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