Speech for Minister of State Callely
Dublin Bus Safe Driving Awards Ceremony
Clontarf Castle, Wednesday, 26th October, 2005
I am delighted to have been asked by Dublin Bus to present the safe driving awards to 255 Dublin Bus drivers. The Safe Driving Awards Scheme has been in operation for over 20 years.
To be eligible for the award drivers must not have had an accident during the year and I know that some of the drivers receiving awards today have been accident-free for longer than the scheme has been in operation.
One of the targets of the Road Safety Strategy 2004-2006 is a further reduction in road deaths. In overall terms, measures will focus on the areas of education, enforcement, engineering and legislation and will target the key areas of speeding, driving while intoxicated, seat-belt wearing and vulnerable road users.
The Government honoured its commitment under the Agreed Programme for Government with the establishment on the 23rd November, 2004 of the Garda Traffic Corps. An Assistant Garda Commissioner who is in charge of all aspects of road traffic law leads this dedicated Traffic Corps. At the time of its launch, there were a total of 531 Garda members allocated to it. This strength will be increased on an incremental scale so that by the end of 2008 the final strength of the Traffic Corps will be 1,200.
Reducing road fatalities and injuries is one of the clear objectives of the Traffic Corps, as is more generally the enforcement of road traffic legislation. A significant benchmark for the Traffic Corps is the demanding enforcement targets set out in the Road Safety Strategy 2004-2006.
Many challenges lie ahead for all who are interested or involved in the transport service. In my area of responsibility, the challenge is to ensure that the vehicles used, the passenger safety requirements and the operating road traffic environment are such that passengers are carried in a safe manner.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Dublin Bus on the service that it provides to its passengers. New services have been delivered to towns like Swords, Pelletstown, Citywest, Stepaside and Cherrywood for example. My Department provided the necessary funding to install a new on-board digital CCTV system to the entire Dublin Bus fleet, 90% of which will be completed by the end of this year. 50% of the fleet now has low-floor accessibility, enabling the full access for people with disabilities. And because Dublin Bus is a service that is available, affordable and accessible, it contributes greatly to social inclusion.
It is a great pleasure to be here to present the Safe Driving Awards to the drivers who have qualified. I would like to thank you for your safe driving and congratulate you on achieving the high standard necessary to receive this award and wish you many years of safe driving ahead.
I would also like to say a very special thank you to Dublin Bus, its Chairman Dr. John Lynch; Managing Director Joe Meagher and all Dublin Bus staff and wish the company continued success.