6 March 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Ireland has joined forces with 7 of its EU counterparts to lobby the EU Commissioner, El¿bieta Bieñkowska, to take immediate action on the introduction of new technologies in car manufacturing that could save thousands of lives on EU roads every year.
This comes on the back of Garda figures that show 26 people have died on our roads so far in 2017, 2 more than the same time last year – a horrendous year for Irish road safety.
In a letter to the European Commissioner El¿bieta Bieñkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’.
Ireland South MEP and member of the EU Transport committee, Deirdre Clune, said that we are facing a crisis on Irish roads.
“Speed, drink driving and the use of mobile phones are all issues that we cannot seem to get a handle on. The time for talking has past. We need a coordinated action plan at national and at EU level to ensure we have proper enforcement of the law but also changes to new technologies at EU level to ensure that new technologies which save lives are made mandatory in all new cars sold in Europe.
“In December 2016, the European Commission published a list of 19 lifesaving safety technologies that could be made mandatory on new vehicles in proposals expected later in 2017. At the time, the European Transport Safety Council said several critical areas for action are missing, and the proposed timescale is far too long considering that most of the technologies are already available today.
“Technologies like over-ridable Intelligent Speed Assistance, Automated Emergency Braking and Advanced Seat-belt Reminder Systems should be fitted as standard in our cars, not as optional extras. Fitting them as optional extras means that those who can afford them, have a safer driving experience that those who cannot – surely, this is something we must change!”