Press release

Green Party’s Ó Cathasaigh says ways must be found to publish accident data to prevent further deaths

12th April 2024
Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Spokesperson for Social Protection

Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh has repeated his call for the Road Safety Authority to publish the valuable information necessary to reduce road deaths around the country.

The Green Party TD repeated his previous calls following a Prime Time Investigates on Wednesday evening that highlighted the RSA’s failure to publish vital information around road deaths in Ireland. 

Ó Cathasaigh, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, said he has written to the chair to request that the RSA appear in front of the committee.

The Waterford TD who is also the party’s chief whip wants a way to be found to use the necessary anonymised geolocated collision data to inform decisions around road safety;

"It is not acceptable to me to hear that local authorities regard themselves as 'shooting in the dark' when it comes to making key decisions about road improvements to address safety issues. I raised the issue around the interpretation of GDPR rules directly with Minister Chambers in a debate on road safety last October and I can’t accept the RSA’s position in this matter. This is data that can be used to save lives on our roads, making for safer streets and better communities.

“We have examples in other jurisdictions where the data released can yield far greater insight to help us understand the causes of road traffic collisions. For example, in the UK, reporting details location, vehicle type, vehicle manouevre, what the journey purpose was, age of driver, the gender of the driver, the age of vehicle, engine size, and so on. This places the focus on the cause of incident and not on the victim. We need detailed data to make the best decisions in road safety infrastructure, in education campaigns, in enforcement.’

“We’re now in a situation, and have been for a number of years, where roads engineers and road safety auditors don’t have access to historic geolocated collision data. This is essential not only to target interventions but also to target enforcement to particular locations. These are practical and concrete measures that can save lives.

“I’ve written to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Brian Stanley, to request that the RSA are brought before the committee. I was alarmed to find that they have yet to appear before PAC since the inception of the authority in 2006. I want to examine in detail where their road safety spend is going and what cost benefit analysis they are applying to that spend. In the heel of the hunt, the cost of poor road safety record is being paid in lives, not tax payers’ euros.”

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