The Government’s road safety reforms are to be “accelerated” through the Oireachtas as the number of deaths on Irish roads this year is now equal to the whole of 2022.
This morning, Gardaí announced an e-scooter user in Sligo died yesterday evening after he was hit by a van, bringing the total number of road traffic fatalities in 2023 to 155.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers described it as an “absolutely shocking” trend and said the issue is a priority for the Government.
“I received a waiver on pre-legislative scrutiny yesterday for the Road Traffic Measures Bill in the Oireachtas,” he said.
“We’re hoping to accelerate drafting of that, so that some of the reforms which have a strong evidence base and have worked elsewhere [can be implemented].”
Mandatory drug testing at the scene of the crash, penalty points reform and reducing the speed limit on certain roads are all expected to be included in the bill - the latter of which is proving particularly controversial.
Sinn Féin’s Martin Kenny said he was concerned that cutting the speed limit on rural roads from 80kmh to 60kmh would leave people feeling like they are “driving a tractor”.
In response, Minister Chambers said the Sligo-Leitrim TD should “not be making light” of such a serious issue.
“Speed has played a central role in many of the fatalities we’ve seen on our roads,” he said.
“We need to have better consistencies of speed limits across the country.”
Road fatalities have previously spiked over bank holidays and, ahead of the long weekend, Minister Chambers said pedestrians especially need to be careful when out and about.
“We’re also really concerned by the really high number of pedestrians who have lost their lives and vulnerable road users this year,” he said.
“So, I’m really reminding people as we head towards the Bank Holiday weekend to slow down, to be cognisant of vulnerable road users
“Also, to pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users to think about their visibility as the evenings get dark and the clocks go back - that represents a significant risk to vulnerable road users.”
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Main image: Jack Chambers. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.