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Failing to have first-aid kit in car could become penalty-point offence


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Failing to have a first-aid kit, torch, high-vis vest and a warning triangle could become a penalty-point offence under a new proposal from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The RSA hopes an emergency pack containing such items will be compulsory for new cars by January 1, 2016, and for all existing cars by July 1, 2016.

It is estimated that a pack could cost motorists around €40.

When it comes to enforcement, the RSA suggests that failing to have a pack could become a penalty-point offence, or become a requirement to pass the NCT.

However, Brian Farrell of the RSA said they are looking for the views of the public before anything is decided.

"Nothing is decided yet. We want to hear from the public on what they think should be done and that includes all stakeholders."

Small public-service vehicles, such as taxis and hackneys, have had to have such packs since 2009, while buses are currently required to have a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit.

The emergency services say that a number of injuries and fatalities happen each year when a person or vehicle involved in a breakdown is hit by an oncoming vehicle.

The cost of installing the packs in every new private car works out at €2.5m, but the RSA estimates that if its implementation can prevent one fatal collision, it will save the State some €2.7m.

It calculates this by explaining that each fatality costs the State directly and indirectly, with costs for both emergency services that respond to crashes and the loss of potential tax contributions from the victim.

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It is expected car dealers or manufacturers will foot the cost of the packs for new vehicles, while drivers of existing vehicles will have to buy one themselves.

The public can provide feedback to the RSA on the proposal until June 12, after which it will make a formal proposal to Government.