Tuesday 16 January 2018

Minister admits road safety laws out-dated and too 'complex'

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe

Greg Harkin

Transport Minister Pascal Donohoe has admitted the country's road traffic laws are out-dated and too complicated.

Mr Donohoe made the admission in a letter to concerned road safety campaigners last February.

He was responding to the group Parc who were demanding that all of Ireland's road traffic laws should be consolidated into one new Act.

"The last consolidation of the Road Traffic Acts took place in 1963," said the Minister.

"Fifty-four years have passed since then and the corpus of road traffic legislation has become increasingly complex, even for legal specialists in the area."

He said there was "widespread agreement" that the laws should be brought together but the Government had prioritised other issues like lowering the legal alcohol level.

Mr Donohoe warned that consolidation of the acts "take time and care to get it right".

Some senior gardaí believe responsibility for drafting new road traffic laws should be moved from the Department of Transport to the Department of Justice.

The "chronic" failure of the Transport department to draft and enact laws "riddled" with loopholes has caused concern at the heart of Government in a country where four people still die on our roads every week.

"It doesn't take a genius to work out that a legal challenge to laws drafted by (Department of) Justice is rare at District Court level, but there have been numerous cases involving road traffic laws," said one source.

Susan Gray from Parc said: "The young gardaí who have to implement the laws of our land need to have their say.

"It is totally embarrassing for them having to put in all their good work only to see that work undone in court."

Irish Independent

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