independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Driving curfew proposed to save young men's lives

Gay Byrne tries out the motorbike simulator while Rose of Tralee competitors Cathrina McGuinness, Anne McNamee and Nerice Logue look on. The simulator is part of the Road Safety Authority's mobile interactive shuttle

Radical changes to driving licence laws are being considered in a bid to cut the number of young men being killed on the roads.

The options include a curfew banning late-night driving; restrictions on engine size and speed; and laying down who could accompany young men in cars.

The suggestions are being studied by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

RSA chairman Gay Byrne said yesterday that it was part of a proposed "reconfiguration of the driving licence" for young men.

The suggestions had come in from public consultation, which was ongoing, Mr Byrne said.

Males aged between 17 and 24 were "internationally" more dangerous, and with two or more of their contemporaries in a car were 85pc more likely to have a crash, he said.

Reconfiguration

The RSA would "make a selection" and by means of a reconfiguration of the driving licence "may save a few parents from that knock on the door at 3am".

Mr Byrne was speaking as he tried out the Honda motorbike simulator in the RSA's mobile interactive shuttle, which is visiting the Rose of Tralee festival in Kerry.

The unit, which is the cornerstone of a new campaign, offers car simulators, driver theory test computers, multimedia games and smarter travel bikes.

It was called the shuttle "because it was like walking through something from NASA", Mr Byrne said.

The shuttle would park wherever there was a crowd and was heading for the National Ploughing Championships next.

"Up to now the national road safety effort has been led by major media campaigns, which have been hugely successful. However, we felt that something was needed to bring road safety directly into people' everyday lives at a face-to-face level," Mr Byrne said.

The motorbike simulator was not like the real thing -- it didn't swing, he remarked as, surrounded by Roses, he demanded his sunglasses from wife Kathleen Watkins.

He said he still rode a Honda Deauville, cycled a bicycle and drove a car, but being chairman of the Road Safety Authority had made him more safety conscious, he said.

The shuttle, on a 40-week trip around the country, is being sponsored by Reynolds Logistics, one of the country's leading petroleum hauliers employing 350 drivers, as well as by the Co Roscommon-based Westward Scania, the importers of Scania trucks, and Smarter Travel.

Also at the Tralee event, Road Safety Authority chief executive Noel Brett said the road safety message was getting through and the number of road deaths so far this year yesterday stood at 159. This was 31 less than the same day last year.

There was absolutely no doubt that a reduction in alcohol levels would save lives, he said.

This had been the case wherever transport ministers had been courageous enough to implement reduced alcohol measures, he said.

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