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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Alamy Stock Photo
# Road Safety
New road safety strategy that seeks to halve deaths on Irish roads by 2030 launched
A working group will be established to examine speed limits, particularly a 30km/h speed limit in urban areas.

A NEW ROAD safety strategy is seeking to cut the number of deaths on Irish roads by 50% over the next ten years.

The Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 is a new plan from the Department of Transport that aims to halve the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by the end of the decade by introducing new safety measures.

The 50% reduction would mean reducing deaths on Irish roads from 144 annually to 72 or lower, and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 annually to 630 or lower.

Within the strategy, there are plans to establish a new working group on the setting of speed limits, with a specific consideration for the introduction of a 30km/h default speed limit in urban areas

Plans to review penalties for serious road traffic offences, including impaired driving, speeding, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt are also being considered. New legislation to increase sanctions against people who drink or drug drive is also being planned.

The strategy is also seeking to “eliminate the incidence” of learner drivers driving without a full licence holder, as well as reducing the number of learner car drivers who hold a third or more learner permit to a maximum of 10%.

Safe cycling and walking is highlighted within the plan, with the Government previously announcing that 1,000km of new segregated walking and cycling paths would be built by 2025.

Launching the project, Minister for State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughten said: “At the heart of this Road Safety Strategy is change. How we use our roads is changing. So how we understand and think about road safety needs to change.”

We must adjust our attitudes and behaviours to take account of the fact that no one form of transport takes primacy over another. Each and every road user is entitled to use our roads and not have their safety or life put at risk due to others’ dangerous behaviour.

“The core of the strategy is not about words or numbers on a page, but about saving lives and preventing injuries.”

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that the plan was “ambitious” and would start an overall plan, Vision Zero, to ensure that there would be no road deaths by 2050.

“It is ambitious. That is why we have set a target of reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries by half by 2030,” said Ryan.

“This strategy prioritises the safety of those who are most vulnerable, ensuring their right to travel the roads safely is protected.”

The project will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase taking place from 2021 to 2024. A projected €3.8 Billion investment is to be made for the first phase of the project.

Under the first phase of the scheme, the Government is aiming to reduce the number of road deaths and serious accidents by 15%. This would see deaths drop from 144 to 122 annually and serious injuries drop from 1,259 to 1,133 annually.

“Ireland has made significant progress over the lifetime of previous road safety strategies. Since the launch of the first ever Road Safety Strategy in 1998, road deaths have declined by almost 70%,” said Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority.

“Reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 50% over the next decade is achievable. Vision Zero by 2050 is achievable. We can do it.

“Given our road safety journey to date, no target is too ambitious for us.”

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