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Category Archives: Road Safety

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Road Traffic Bill 2016 and I welcome most of its provisions. The purpose of the legislation is to improve safety on our roads and reduce fatalities and injuries to road users by introducing several measures. They are the detection of drug driving via mandatory testing; the creation of new offences for driving or being in charge of a vehicle under the influence of specified drugs; the lowering of the speed limit in estates to 20 km/h, which I will come back to; and the agreement between Ireland and the United Kingdom on mutual recognition of driving disqualifications, which is very welcome.

I congratulate the road safety organisation, Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our Roads, PARC, which was established in 2006 by Susan Gray, who lost her husband in a road traffic accident in Inishowen in County Donegal. The group comprises people who have been affected by road traffic accidents and has been campaigning since 2006 on various road safety issues. It supports families of road traffic victims and has been involved in a series of very successful campaigns, including the mandatory testing of drivers involved in fatal and serious collisions, which was introduced in June 2011. They were also involved in the campaign to test unconscious and incapacitated drivers in fatal and serious collisions and the law was changed in that regard in November 2014. They published a booklet called Finding Your Way, for families affected by road traffic accidents, which is widely available to all stakeholders, including gardaí, and is updated on a regular basis.

I acknowledge the work done by that organisation, particularly by Susan Grey who founded it, and the work of the people working with it throughout the country. They include Mr. Alec Lee from Clonmel in my constituency. I should also mention the good work that Deputy Broughan has been doing in conjunction with PARC for a number of years.

The Minister should have bitten the bullet on the housing estate issue and made the 20 kp/h speed limit mandatory. Young Jake Brennan died at six years of age following a road traffic accident in a housing estate. His family have been campaigning for some time for the introduction of mandatory 20 kp/h speed limits. The opportunity to do that in this Bill has been lost. The current position is that local authorities have the option to introduce a speed limit of 30 kp/h. The Minister has reduced that to 20 kp/h in this legislation but the record of local authorities on the 30 kp/h limit is woeful. In fact, few, if any, changes in that regard have come through local authorities over the years. This option has been available to them since 2014 and the guidelines were updated and reintroduced in 2015 but it is all on the basis of it being an option and encouraging local authorities to do it or recommending that it be done. However, it has not happened in the case of the 30 kp/h limit and I am certain there will be no hunger to do it, certainly at local authority official level, in the case of the 20 kp/h limit. There is still time for the Minister to change that provision in the Bill and to make the 20 kp/h limit mandatory. As mentioned by Deputies Eamon Ryan and Catherine Murphy, the redesign of estates and of traffic within estates together with a mandatory 20 kp/h limit would be hugely advantageous for residents, their families and particularly for cyclists and pedestrians. I hope that during the progress of the Bill through the Oireachtas the Minister might take the view that this provision should be made mandatory.

There is another issue relating to road safety worth mentioning, although it is not mentioned in the Bill. I raise it particularly in the context of my constituency of Tipperary. It is the repair, maintenance and standard of roads in the country. The woeful standard and the lack of repair give rise to potholed roads, with the roads almost undermined, difficult to travel and in many cases causing serious difficulties in vehicles. There can also be road traffic accidents as a result of the condition of the roads. This issue must be addressed urgently. It is a question of funding and resourcing local authorities to enable them to maintain and upgrade the roads.

The Minister has been in Tipperary and visited Tipperary County Council in Clonmel on 28 July. The situation in Tipperary is quite clear. Even though there was a Minister and a Minister of State from Tipperary in the previous Government, the county fell behind significantly with regard to roads funding. The ratings for the various road categories in Tipperary compare very unfavourably with the national mean. For example, local primary roads are 5% less than the mean, local secondary roads are 11% less than the mean and local tertiary roads are a full 17% less than the national mean. The reason is that the roads grants profile for Tipperary from 2007 to 2015 has been one of continuous reductions. In 2007, the regional and local grants amounted to €608 million while in 2015 they were down to €294 million. The amount was more than halved in that period. Various other grants show similar reductions. For example, regional and local road grants for restoration and improvement went down from €13.6 million in 2007 to €8.6 million in 2016 while regional and local road grants for restoration and maintenance went down from €4.7 million in 2007 to €2.4 million in 2016. In fairness to Tipperary County Council, it increased the resources from the county to provide for roads by almost €1 million over that period. There is a huge need for additional funding for roads in County Tipperary. The Minister has been made aware of the situation and I hope that in the forthcoming budget he will be in a position to increase the road grants for the county significantly to ensure that the standard and maintenance of roads in the county are at a reasonable level.

I should mention the N24 national primary road which runs through Tipperary. As I told the Minister in Clonmel, it is a significant economic and social corridor for the area but it is also a very dangerous road. There have been significant road traffic collisions on the road, many of them sadly fatal. Promises and commitments have been made to provide bypasses for both Tipperary town, where the traffic comes right through its centre, and Carrick-on-Suir. I ask the Minister to address that matter as well.


In the wake of the recent flooding, Deputy Seamus Healy has called on the government to re-allocate to County Councils, the €430M from the road tax monies given to Irish Water.
This money is urgently needed to re-build and repair county roads across County Tipperary and the Country which have been destroyed by floods.
These roads were already in a very bad condition due to cutbacks in road monies buy the Government.
Deputy Healy also called for the upgrading of the National Primary N24 to be added to the Roads Capital Programme announced last year. This road is a vital economic and social lifeline across Tipperary and links the Midwest to the South East. This road was impassable in a number of areas during the recent flooding. Despite demands for upgrading including the provision of the Tipperary Town By-pass and Carrick on Suir By-pass this work has been excluded from the Government’s Road Programme 2015-2016. It must be included immediately.
There must also be a countywide assessment of the flooding and the responses to it including availability of back up pumps and road and gully maintenance.
Deputy Healy praised the work of the Council workers, Civil Defence, Gardaí, Red Cross, Army, Carrick River Rescue and volunteers who did Trojan work during the flooding.
Council staffing has been seriously depleted by the government moratorium and additional staffing is urgently needed to maintain roads, gullies, inlets and dykes.

Seamus Healy T.D.
Tel 087 2802199
11/1/2016


The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to exercise caution while using the roads, as Met Éireann have issued an orange weather warning of strong winds for Leitrim, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick from Friday morning until  Saturday evening. Southwesterly winds reaching mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h and gusts of 110 to 130 km/h likely. High ground and exposed coasts will be most at risk.  A forecast of strong and gusty winds with mean speeds of 55 to 75 km/hr with gusts of 85 to 100 km/hr have also been issued to counties Galway, Mayo and Donegal for the same period.

The RSA is asking road users to take extra care in these strong winds and have issued the following advice:

*   Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected. Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road
*   Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds

*   Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists
*   Drive with dipped headlights at all times
*   Monitor radio weather broadcasts while travelling

Advice to Pedestrians & Cyclists;

*   Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt
*   Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
*   Walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

For advice on severe weather driving tips please see severe weather advice<http://www.rsa.ie/RSA/Road-Safety/Campaigns/Current-road-safety-campaigns/Severe-Weather-Advice/> on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.
For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie<http://www.met.ie/>

For further information please contact:
Communications Department, Road Safety Authority – 096 25008


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extreme care when using the roads over the coming days as Met Éireann has issued an orange weather alert warning of further wintry showers this evening, overnight and on Tuesday of rain, hail, sleet and snow.  Accumulations of greater than 3 cm are possible even on lower ground with thunderstorms too. Widespread frosty and icy conditions will develop.

The RSA also advises road users to:

·         Check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a journey. Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.

·         Remove ALL snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision. It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver.

·         In snow and icy conditions manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.

·         Remember that heavy snowfall and rain reduce visibility. Use dipped headlights and decrease speed smoothly.

·         Do not drive on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front (Target Fixing). This can give a false sense of security and you will be too close to be able to brake safely.

·         Watch out for “black ice.” If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. It can occur especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.

·         Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.

·         Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.

·         Check tyres, including spare wheel, replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking

·         Beware of objects being blown out onto the road and to expect the unexpected. In particular watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road. Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.

Pedestrians should take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in windy showers and during spells of hail, sleet and snow.

·         Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.

·         If a journey cannot be avoided walk on a footpath, not in the street. If there are no footpaths walk on the right hand side of the road (towards oncoming traffic). Be extremely careful as frost, ice and snow will make walking on footpaths very dangerous.

·         Remember that footpaths may not be treated so walk with extreme care, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear and in extreme conditions consider an appropriate walking stick or walking pole. While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, DO NOT underestimate the danger of ice.

·         Avoid walking in the streets at all costs if possible. Remember, cars and trucks slip and slide, too!  If it’s an emergency, and you can’t avoid the street, wear bright or reflective clothing.

·         Visibility is reduced in snowy condition so wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch

·         Wear clothing that does not restrict your vision. Stay warm, but DO NOT impair your vision with hoodies, ski masks, scarves, hats, etc. This type of clothing could prevent you from spotting icy conditions that may lead to a fall or not enable you to see a car that is spinning out of control.

·         Snow and ice cause havoc quickly, so use extra caution when crossing roadways, and always cross at pedestrian crossings.

·         Ice can easily hide under a light dusting of snow. Just because you don’t see the ice doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting for your unsuspecting footfalls.

·         If you can’t avoid the ice and snow, bend your knees slightly and take slower, shorter steps to help reduce the chance of a slip and fall and an injury.

·         If forced to use the steps at someone’s home, apartment, or other public building, walk slow and take shorter steps when descending. The same is true of driveways and other hilly terrain; these areas can be very dangerous when they become slippery with ice or snow. Steps especially can be hard to clear and build up ice easily.

·         Many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door, on the door step, on the path or while getting out of the car. It is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering your pathway putting you at risk

For advice on severe weather driving tips please see severe weather advice<http://www.rsa.ie/RSA/Road-Safety/Campaigns/Current-road-safety-campaigns/Severe-Weather-Advice/> on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie<http://www.met.ie/>

For further information contact;
RSA Communications department 096-25008


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extreme care when using the roads this weekend as Met Éireann has issued an orange weather alert warning of extreme winds from Saturday afternoonthrough to early Sunday morning.
South-westerly winds veering West with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h reaching gusts of 110 km/h and130km/h, in exposed coasts and headlands for a time on Saturday evening and early night. There will be high seas and some high tides and coastal flooding is possible.

The RSA also advises road users to:

·         Beware of objects being blown out onto the road and to expect the unexpected. In particular watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road. Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.

·         Drivers should allow extra space around vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.

·         Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

·         Use dipped headlights at all times of poor visibility not parking/side lights and fog lights.

·         Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.

Pedestrians should take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

·         Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.

·         Pedestrians should walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

For advice on severe weather driving tips please see severe weather advice<http://www.rsa.ie/RSA/Road-Safety/Campaigns/Current-road-safety-campaigns/Severe-Weather-Advice/> on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie<http://www.met.ie/>

For further information contact;
RSA Communications department 096-25008

Communications Department| Road Safety Authority | Moy Valley Business Park, Primrose Hill, Dublin Road, Ballina, Co. Mayo | Dir 096 25008 | www.rsa.ie<http://www.rsa.ie/>


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads as Met Eireann has issued a yellow weather warning nationwide from tonight until Thursday evening. Showers will turn wintry tonight in the north and west, with a risk of icy patches. Wintry showers will bring snow accumulations of up to 3 cm at lower levels during tomorrow and through Thursday, with all areas at risk. Showers will be most frequent in the west and north and over hills and mountains with higher accumulations expected there. Wednesday night will be extremely cold and will be well below freezing with frost and ice making for hazardous driving conditions.

The RSA has issued the following advice:

· Check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a journey. Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.

· Remove ALL snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision. It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver.

· In snow and icy conditions manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.

· Remember that heavy snowfall and rain reduce visibility. Use dipped headlights and decrease speed smoothly.

· To prevent windscreen wipers from freezing and seizing up in freezing fog, add anti-freeze screen washer to the water tank. Check that the wipers for wear and tear and replace them if they are.

· Do not drive on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front (Target Fixing). This can give a false sense of security and you will be too close to be able to brake safely. In heavy fog, turn off your radio and let down your driver’s window a fraction, so as you can hear other traffic.

Watch out for “black ice.” If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. It can occur especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.

· Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.

· Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.

· Check tyres, including spare wheel, replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.

Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to;

· While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, DO NOT underestimate the danger of ice.

· Many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door, on the door step, on the path or while getting out of the car. It is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering your pathway putting you at risk. When you approach a footpath or roadway that appears to be covered with ice, always use extreme caution.

For further information please contact:
RSA Communications Department – 096 25008

Follow the RSA on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RSAIreland
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSAIreland​


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are reminding drivers to be aware of the danger posed by ‘sun glare’, which results in drivers being temporarily dazzled or blinded by the intensity and brightness of a low sun on the horizon.

The appeal comes as provisional crash reports suggest that drivers being temporarily blinded by ‘sun glare’ may have been a contributory factor in some fatal collisions in 2014.

Commenting on the issue Ms. Moyagh Murdock, CEO, RSA said “Because, at this time of the year, the sun sits so low in the sky, late in the morning and early evening, corresponding with the main commuting times, the sun visor on the car isn’t really much help at all. If a driver is driving straight into such a sun he or she can be completely dazzled by the sheer intensity and brightness of its rays. The situation is made worse if the windscreen is dirty or greasy or if it’s been raining, or the ground is covered with snow. In this situation the glare reflects off the wet or snow covered road to further dazzle the driver.

Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan, Garda National Traffic Bureau, advises driver on what they should do, “Reducing your speed is the first and most obvious thing to do. Slowing down on the approach to junctions, corners and bends is critical. You simply don’t know what hazard may be up ahead at these potential risk spots, and one you certainly won’t be anticipating is being blinded by sun glare.”

“Ensure your windscreen is clean inside and out. Add windshield washer fluid to the water in the reservoir and check that the wipers are not worn away or damaged. Replace them if they are. Buying polarised sun glasses, and keeping a pair in the car is also a must. They will help greatly if driving into a sun that’s low on the horizon.” He added.

Concluding Ms Murdock said, “If you are heading East in the morning, the direction the sun rises or heading West in the late afternoon, where it sets, please be conscious of sun glare. By simply being aware of this problem, which we all need to take more seriously, we will be able to read the environment and conditions and make better decisions when we are driving. Importantly we won’t get caught out or blinded by the sun when turning the next corner.”



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