Use of 'poor box' for driving offences makes a mockery of the law
Making our roads safer is a challenge. We have made remarkable progress in reducing death and serious injuries on our roads over the last three decades. This has come about by Government and State agencies taking a cross-sectoral, strategic approach. Better legislation, enforcement by gardaí and a concerted move by local authorities and the NRA in road improvement have been crucial elements of this strategy. The Road Safety Authority, which I now chair, was established in 2006 with a remit to make Ireland's roads safer.
Through constant advocacy, advertising, education, inspection of vehicles, better driving qualification monitoring and training, measurable improvements have taken place. The figures are compelling. In 1981, for example, there were 572 road fatalities; in November of that year alone 80 people died. Last year there were 185.
This progress has been hard won. Penalties have been increased for driver misbehaviour. The culture of drink driving, which was the scourge of earlier times has been aggressively tackled by the introduction of random breath testing for alcohol carrying mandatory penalties. So much so, that it has gradually become socially unacceptable for a person to drive with drink taken.