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Irish Roads

Harris and RSA commit to returning average wait time for driving tests to 10 weeks

It was also agreed at a meeting today to return NCT invitation to test waiting times to 12 days by mid-year.

LAST UPDATE | 15 Apr

TAOISEACH SIMON HARRIS and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have pledged to return the average wait time for a driving test to 10 weeks. 

The Taoiseach, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Minister of State Jack Chambers met with the RSA to discuss the issue of the number of increased road deaths on Irish roads. 

So far this year, there has been 63 fatalities on Irish roads, an increase of 15 on the same period last year. 

Last year, 184 people lost their lives on Irish roads, up almost 20% in a year and 33% higher than before the pandemic.  

The focus of today’s meeting was on road traffic collision trends and what possible measures could be examined to address the reversal of progress made in recent years on fatalities and serious injuries on Irish roads.

A number of actions were agreed following the meeting, including returning the average driving test wait time to the Service Legal Agreement of 10 weeks by the middle of the year. 

It was also agreed to return NCT invitation to test waiting times to 12 days by mid-year. 

The Taoiseach committed to implementing legislative change, if required, regarding the sharing of collision data. 

The RSA is to spend an additional €3 million across this year, commencing immediately, in funding for road safety campaigns and education initiatives.

The RSA is to identify funding needs for the remainder of 2024. Subject to assessment and findings of the Indecon review, the Department of Transport will continue to ensure the ongoing funding.

An Garda Síochána is to be requested to provide ongoing enforcement activity plans.

It was agree at the meeting that there will be progess on the delivery of 12 new camera enforcement sites in the coming months. 

Taoiseach’s aims

When taking over as Taoiseach last week, Harris highlighted how a renewed focus on road safety is needed. The meeting today came ahead of Harris chairing a meeting of the government’s road safety ministerial committee in the coming weeks. 

On Friday, the Taoiseach met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Helen McEntee where road safety was also discussed.

The Commissioner said last week that given the rise in fatal collisions, An Garda Síochána must adapt its policing initiatives to increase safety on the roads. 

“Our international policing partners, utilise all police officers to focus an element of their shift in traffic environment. This approach complements increased visibility and compliance by motorists for road traffic legislation,” Harris said. 

“Therefore, with immediate effect, each Regional Assistant Commissioner will utilise all uniform personnel, core and core and non-core, deploying them on high visibility roads policing operations, of 30 minutes’ duration in each tour of duty,” he said. 

“Supervisors will ensure compliance with this direction, with the exception of where exigencies of the service arise.”

Speaking to The Journal last month, Frank O’Connell, coroner for South Cork, said there are three reasons for the rise in road deaths, in his view.

“Number one: speed,” O’Connell says.

“Number two: alcohol. Number three: cocaine. If we could eliminate those, we’d be down to 50 or 60 road deaths per year.”

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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