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22nd May 2020 | Press Releases

Local Authorities must push cultural shift in driver attitudes towards speed limits

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Green Party Spokesperson on Transport Joe O’Brien TD has said there needs to be a cultural shift in the attitude of drivers in relation to speed limits. Speaking on National Slow Down Day, Deputy O’Brien stated: “There is an increased onus on Local Authorities in the context of National Slow Down Day to make sure that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are safer, especially given recent reports of increased rates of accidents in Accident & Emergency departments.

“There are very practical, easy measures that can be taken by every Local Authority and every city, that includes widening footpaths, repurposing parking bays, creating quick and easy cycle paths, slowing traffic down etc. Local Authorities need to start a process of reorienting driver culture to make drivers realise that they share the roads with pedestrians and cyclists. Now, more than ever, as we adjust to life with physical distancing, it is apparent that roads are not just for cars, roads are very much for pedestrians and cyclists and we need every Local Authority and every city to be getting this message out and reflecting this message in practical hard changes in infrastructure on the ground, that protect people. The NTA has been doing good work with DCC and Cork City but we need to see this as a nationwide change.

“During the current COVID-19 restrictions, An Garda Síochána have reported they are seeing an increase in the number of vulnerable users on our roads, and despite reduced volumes of traffic on our roads they are also reporting that the levels of speed have increased. In the first few hours of National Slow Down Day alone, the Gardaí detected 181 vehicles travelling in excess of the speed limit, including one travelling at over 200km p/h.

“Local Authorities have a duty of care and urgently need to look at ways to protect all road users. In relation to the issue of speeding, there is an opportunity to look into expanding the average speed tracking system that currently operates in the Port Tunnel in Dublin. The system has been extremely successful in tackling the issue of speeding, figures indicate that only 0.15 per cent of drivers using the link between Dublin Port and the M1 now travel at 10km/h over the limit of 80 km/h, compared to about 20 per cent before the system was introduced.

“There are also significant emissions reductions and climate action benefits to actually ensuring vehicles stick to speed limits. Emissions grow exponentially the faster a car travels”.