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Speeches

A selection of speeches made by our Ministers, and relevant to the roads sector, appear here.  For further information contact the Press Office on 01-6041087

Speech by Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Transport At the launch of "Better Safer Driver" Campaign
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26 April 2006

I am delighted to launch this advertising campaign on behalf of the Road Safety Authority this is the first campaign which will carry the RSA logo and as such, is an important practical step in the establishment of the RSA as an agency with a range of road safety functions.  I want to also welcome Gay Byrne in his first official role as Chairman of the RSA in launching this campaign.

We are familiar with the hard-hitting, often graphic campaigns which highlight the consequences of collisions resulting from a range of different issues.  Those campaigns are important in seeking to change driver behaviour and highlight the tragic result of dangerous and irresponsible driving.  This campaign adopts a different approach it seeks to educate the road user on specific manoeuvres which are considered dangerous.  These ads target four manoeuvres in particular:

  • Making a right turn
  • Safe Overtaking
  • Driving on bends
  • Keeping your distance

These are principles which many drivers will take for granted.  However, both novice and experienced drivers should be aware of the importance of lifelong learning when it comes to road safety.  None of us are too experienced to benefit from the "how to" approach which is adopted in these ads.  The importance of the ads cannot be emphasised enough as a safety tool.  These four manoeuvres appear regularly in the list of contributory factors to road collisions.  I understand that it is the intention to include a range of other manoeuvres in future ads in order to produce a series of instructional type ads for road users. 

I recently extended the penalty point system to a range of safety related offences including dangerous overtaking and failure to keep an appropriate distance between you and the vehicle in front.  It is very appropriate therefore that, hand-in-hand with that initiative, this campaign focuses on educating the road user on these techniques. 

The Government is concentrating on implementing the priority road safety measures outlined in the Road Safety Strategy.  The recently approved Road Safety Bill can leave nobody in any doubt about this Government's seriousness on Road Safety. The severity of the punishments for those found guilty of serious driving offences underlines that seriousness.  Combined with increased Garda enforcement, these new measures will help us to stamp out irresponsible and dangerous driving and in doing so, save lives.

The Road Safety Bill is tough, sensible and necessary.  Tough because reckless drivers that put lives at risk will face stiffer penalties.  Sensible because it frees up Court and Garda time as well as paving the way for reform of the licensing regime.  Necessary because of the tragic loss of lives on our roads.

In addition, we are establishing the new Road Safety Authority.  With an annual budget of €30m and over 300 staff, it will get the resources it needs.  The team we are putting together in the Road Safety Authority, with Gay Byrne as Chairman and Noel Brett as CEO, is dynamic, focussed and determined. 

I also want to announce today the newly appointed Board members of the Road Safety Authority.  The individuals we have brought together bring a wide variety of skills, experience and professional commitment.  Joining the Chairperson, Gay Byrne and Chief Executive, Noel Brett on the Board will be: 

  • Aine Cornally, Director of Customer Support Services, Bank of Ireland Global Markets
  • Myra Garrett, Partner, William Fry Solicitors
  • Paul Haran, former Secretary General of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
  • Tom Kelly, Dublin Institute of Technology and ROSPA Motorcycling Examiner
  • Ann McGuinness, former County Manager, Westmeath County Council
  • Aaron MacHale, Rally Driver
  • Tony McNamara, General Manager, Cork University Hospital
  • John O'Gorman, retired Assistant Director General of FÁS

I want to thank each Board member for agreeing to serve on this important body and wish them well in their work.  Advisory Panels whose function will be to advise the Board on policy, its implementation and impact will also be established.  The Board will now move to convene appropriate panels comprising of a broad range of road safety stakeholders in Ireland. 

Conclusion

Returning to today's ads, I want to thank the Irish Advanced Motorists, particularly Mike Kavanagh who features in the ads.  The IAM has played an important role in developing these ads and the organisation has been instrumental in promoting better, safer driving generally through a number of educational initiatives, including the Ignition programme. 

I want to express my thanks to the Irish Insurance Federation for their generous sponsorship of this campaign, and I want to commend the Gardai for their continued enforcement of road traffic law.  I would also like to thank the Road Safety Authority for developing this campaign.  It is a departure from the theme of recent campaigns and will play a significant part in the ongoing education of all road users.  What may seem like a simple manoeuvre can result in tragic consequences when the unexpected happens. 

But it is drivers that we need to reach out to today and every day.  I urge all road users to exercise caution when driving.  I also ask people to take heed of this campaign it is an effective learning tool which is being targeted at every driver, not just those who are young or inexperienced. 

Thank you.