Hiking penalty points is ‘not the solution’ to the rising death toll on Ireland’s roads.
The proposed increase in punishments for road traffic offences is "not the solution" to lowering the death toll, according to transport commentator Conor Faughnan.
There have been 127 deaths on Irish roads so far this year – 23 more than the same period last year and 38 more than in 2019.
This morning, Minister of State Jack Chambers announced a plan for new legislation that would see motorists who commit more than one offence facing increased penalty points.
Currently, if a driver is found guilty of two different offences at the same time, the more serious sanction is the one that applies.
The new law would mean that both offences would apply, meaning drivers could, in theory, be taken off the road following one instance of illegal driving.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show, Mr Faughnan said the plan is "not the solution" to road traffic accidents.
"In terms of natural justice, I'm not convinced it's a good thing, but in terms of a policy initiative, more importantly, it's not the solution," he said.
"Every time we have a peak in road safety and it gets public attention, the minister of the day thinks up a new law.
"That's something you can announce; it looks like you're doing something about it.
"In reality, we've got a good set of laws – we need to enforce the ones we've got."
Mr Faughnan said an increase in visible policing would be an incentive for drivers to abide by the rules of the road.
"You could say that that's motorists showing that they're irresponsible because they would behave badly if it wasn't for the Guard, but you know, you're dealing with normal human beings," he said.
"Clearly if you want laws to be taken seriously, there has to be the prospect of enforcement and people have to believe that it's there.
"Cameras might enhance enforcement generally but they are not a substitute for the physical presence of Guards."
Last week, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan claimed that every kilometre of speed that Government reduces for speed limits will decrease the risk of fatality.
"[He is] rather torturing the data a little bit," Mr Faughnan said.
"You could just in an absolute sense, say cut all speeds, but in fact, that's not a good way to do it.
"You need a system that's designed properly and sympathetically so that the engineering is there and the road cues are there. "
Mr Faughnan said it is "not helpful" when politicians include other public debates in debates about road safety.
"You'll have people who want to reduce speeds for climate reasons, for example, and have the climate conversation in its place – it's not actually a road safety intervention," he said.
"We do need to get speed limits right and there are improvements needed on road infrastructure across the piece.
"Good that Government say they're doing that now, but as I say, not that strategic an intervention."
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