Dempsey accepts major European award


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…………………….. in recognition of Ireland’s dramatic improvement in road safety

Road deaths cut by half between 2001-2009

In Brussels, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey TD accepted the 2010 Road Safety PIN Award, in recognition of the Government’s sustained successful strategy in reducing road deaths.  The award is made by the European Transport Safety Council and marks outstanding road safety performance among the 27 EU member states.  Road deaths in Ireland were cut by half from 107 per million inhabitants in 2001, to 54 per million inhabitants in 2009, a 41% reduction in 8 years. Ireland is now 7th out of 27 EU member states in road deaths per million and shared the award today with Estonia.

Speaking, Minister Dempsey said: “I’d like to personally pay tribute to road users in Ireland, for the manner in which they have embraced road safety.  It is clear that Government policy and investment has been effective in this area.  The work of the RSA and An Garda Siochana has played a major role in making our roads safer and it’s true to say that people would not be alive today, were it not for the measures put in place by the RSA and An Garda Siochana.”

Ireland’s current Road Safety Strategy (2007-2012) set the aim to reduce deaths, injuries and collisions on Irish roads by 30% and to reduce to 60 road deaths per million inhabitants or a maximum of 252 deaths per year.  This target has been achieved ahead of time.

The Minister continued: “One of the most important measures introduced in Ireland was the Mandatory Alcohol Testing and tougher penalties for drink driving offences.  The Irish Government is committed to lowering the current maximum legal blood alcohol concentration limit and the Road Traffic Bill 2009 is currently before the Oireachtas.  Speeding remains a major factor in road deaths and serious injuries in Ireland.  A network of speed cameras will become operational across the country from October this year and I hope this will mirror the reduction in overall speed on our roads as it has in other European countries.

The Minister concluded: “I am very pleased to accept this award this afternoon, but will use the opportunity to reiterate an important message I never get tired of repeating.  We should never lose sight of the reasons why we continue to invest our time, energy and money into road safety.  We want to reduce needless deaths, serious injuries and suffering on families across Ireland – this is the objective that underpins our road safety strategies and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.