The introduction of an independent Road Safety Commissioner with legislative powers could help make our roads safer, according to a Fine Gael TD.
Galway TD Ciarán Cannon said one single body needs to assume responsibility for an overarching road safety strategy.
“In three out of the last four years, we have experienced an increase in road-related fatalities and serious accidents,” he said in the Dáil recently.
“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.”
By the same period in 2022, 121 people had died in road crashes while 112 people died in 2019.
Deputy Gannon one individual or office needs to take responsibility to coordinate the RSA, An Garda Síochána, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and local authorities to reduce death rates.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Deputy Cannon said every death has a “devastating impact on families and communities throughout the country”.
“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,” he said.