Road Safety Authority “no longer fit for purpose” says over 30 groups focused on road safety

Over 30 road safety, cycling and pedestrian campaign groups from across the country have said that they “have lost confidence” in the Road Safety Authority because of the sharp increase in road deaths and that they think it is “no longer fit for purpose”.

In a joint statement the groups said: “There are few communities in Ireland who have not experienced the devastation caused by road traffic collisions. 58 people have been killed on our roads so far this year, with many more having survived collisions only to be left with serious physical and mental injury.”

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“We, the undersigned, campaign for improved road safety measures in our rural and urban communities, in our villages, towns and cities. We want safe roads and streets where everyone can walk, cycle and drive safely.
The Road Safety Authority is the lead agency for road safety in Ireland and we have lost confidence in it. We believe it is no longer fit for purpose,” the groups said.

The statement was released as the Department of Transport is currently consulting on the future of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The public consultation is due to end this Friday, April 5th.

The RSA, which was set up in 2006, is a State agency under the remit of, but independent of, the Department of Transport.

The groups said that the RSA is responsible for the implementation of the national Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030, which has the primary aim to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% by 2030, but that it is failing in this task.

“The number of deaths on our roads is not reducing. It is worsening. 16 more people have been killed this year than during the same period last year. The RSA is failing in its core mission,” the joint statement said.

The groups said that the RSA’s core function is to promote, educate and increase awareness of road safety but it is focusing on people with “the least capacity to make any difference to road safety.”

“On Child Safety Day, the Road Safety Authority distributed over 40,000 high visibility vests to pre-schools in the country, focusing on the potential victims of road violence, those with the least responsibility and the least capacity to make any difference to road safety,” the groups said.

The groups said that redesigning roads to prioritise road safety for everyone with walking and cycling infrastructure and safer design is “met with significant local opposition – yet the Road Safety Authority has remained silent in these debates.”

“Lenient sentencing and unsound court arguments have undermined the deterrence of proper enforcement, yet the Road Safety Authority has remained silent on this too,” the groups said.

The statement was signed by A Playful City, Cork Cycling Campaign, Cork Commuter Coalition, Calm Crumlin Road, Cycle Sense Skibbereen, Bike Deansgrange, Wee Greenway Initiative Donegal, Drogheda Cycling Campaign, I BIKE Dublin, Dublin Commuter Coalition, Dublin Cycling Campaign, Dublin 12 Cycle Bus, The Bike Hub, Dun Laoghaire Living Streets, Better Ennis, Fingal Cycling Campaign, Galway Cycle Bus, Galway Cycling Campaign, Gorey Pedestrian and Cycling Association, Kerry Cycling Campaign, Limerick Cycle Bus, Limerick Cycling Campaign, Limerick Pedestrian Network, Navan Cycling Initiative, MÓRAction Oranmore, Skerries Cycling Initiative, 15 Minute Westport and the Waterford Bicycle Users Group.

Update 03/04/2024: The Wheels of Athenry, Rural Cycling Collective and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cycling Campaign have also added their names to the groups who have signed the statement.

The joint statement also highlighted the on-going issue of the RSA not releasing data to road safety researchers. They said: “Historic road collision data is not being made available to road safety auditors. Public reports are framed around the victim of road collisions and their mode of transport rather than the cause. The RSA is not providing up-to-date and comprehensive data which can be used to make our roads safer.”

The groups added: “At the time of writing, 58 people have been killed on our roads in 2024. By the time you have read this, that number will likely have increased. This number is not just a statistic. Every single person killed on our roads leaves behind family, friends and a community, whose lives are changed forever.”


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6 comments

  1. Agree with most of this statement, though I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater by junking the RSA altogether. Aside from the matter of greater focus on better road design (which should take clear priority of course), they should also refocus their public awareness campaigns away from personal responsibility tropes for pedestrians, and concentrate more on addressing poor driving standards in this country. As matters stand, it amounts to asking drivers if they could avoid killing cyclists and pedestrians, if it’s not too much trouble.

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  2. The consultation form is the place where one can outline that. e.g. that their mandate should focus on driver education and vehicle road-worthiness. The rest of its activities would be better suited to being allocated to e.g. NTA, TII and local authorities.

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  3. Any money spent on road safety advertising is pointless at this stage when Gardai, Councils, td’s and road planners fail endlessly to do their job.

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  4. Want less deaths? Perhaps start with fixing the road signs. Especially on non express roads. I often see an 80 kph speed limit followed by a sharp turn. A suicide curves I call them. If you aren’t local and don’t know a particular road then road signs canot be trusted in this country. Foreigners are having heart attacks drivimg here.

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  5. I actually think young drivers who have passed there driving test should be brought in and educated on road safety every year and show them the bad car crashes on screen and tell them about the people that were fatally killed and injured because in my estimation it’s nearly all young people are getting involved in most of these accidents except a small minority of elderly, RSA are actually bringing in the wrong people for courses ie truck drivers and bus drivers who are mostly good and experienced drivers unlike young and inexperienced drivers.This definitely needs to be looked at if there serious about cuttings down the number of fatalities .

    Reply

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