Cutting speeds saves lives
Amidst all of the bad news on the economy, it is easy to lose sight of our outstanding success in reducing the number of deaths on the roads.
As of yesterday, 44 people had died on Irish roads so far this year, down almost a quarter on the total for the same period in 2011. When one considers that the number of road accident deaths for the whole of 2011, 186, was the lowest since records began in 1959, the continued reduction this year is quite remarkable.
There are several reasons for the sharp decline in the number of people dying on the roads in recent years. Better roads have certainly helped. So too has improved enforcement of the drink-driving laws. Other contributors have been seat belts and the improved safety features in new cars.
However, one of the main reasons for the dramatic reduction in the road death toll has been the clampdown on speeding. Figures published yesterday show that the presence of speed camera vans at accident blackspots can cut the incidence of speeding by up to 93pc.
One of the decisions the previous government got right was to use speed cameras to target accident blackspots, rather than, as has happened in the UK, as a surreptitious revenue-raising device. This has ensured that speed enforcement has retained overwhelming public support.
The reduction in the incidence of speeding at accident blackspots will help to further reduce the number of road accident deaths. By doing so, we can add to the thousands of lives that have already been saved due to the reduction in the number of deaths in recent years.