Bishop welcomes new road safety measuresFriday, August 3rd, 2012
“People have an obligation to exercise a duty of care to other road users by improving their driver behaviour and, at a public policy level, this improved behaviour needs to be matched by effective strategic planning and greater resourcing.”
So said the bishop of Clogher, Liam MacDaid, speaking in advance of the August bank holiday weekend.
He welcomed measures announced yesterday by Mr Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, which introduce or increase penalty points for a variety of seatbelt offences.
The measures come into force from midnight Thursday and include penalty points for a driver allowing a person under 17 years of age to occupy a seat when not wearing a seatbelt, or permitting a child under or over 3 years of age to travel in a car, “without being restrained by appropriate child restraint.” It also imposes a penalty points on drivers using an overweight vehicles.
Last year, two people died and six were seriously injured over the August bank holiday period.
Recent statistics released by the RSA have shown that in the first six months of this year, 23% of drivers killed and 29% of passengers killed were not wearing seatbelts.
“The Gardaí still report that a large number of people do not wear their seatbelt or allow passengers to travel unrestrained,” said Minister Varadkar.
“Shocking as it may sound there are still motorists who permit children under 3 to travel without being properly restrained. Failing to wear a seatbelt or allowing a passenger to travel unrestrained is a breach of the law and you risk a fine and penalty points on your licence which will remain in place for 3 years.”
Road fatalities stand at 109 for the Republic and 24 for Northern Ireland since the beginning of 2012.
“This loss of human life is heart breaking for the loved ones of the deceased and a tragedy for our society as a whole,” commented Bishop MacDaid. “Ahead of our August bank holiday weekend I am asking all road users to exercise particular vigilance in terms of safety and to be responsible on the roads over the next days."
“Care for one another in our community is a basic human value which travels across different faiths and cultures. This duty of care also applies to our road use and it is fundamental to the common good of all in society,” he added.
He recommended a prayer for motorists, and asked them to say it before driving:
Before I take my place behind the wheel
I pray, O Sacred Heart – Guide me on my way.
Virgin Mary, Morning Star, from every danger guide this car.
Thou dear Lord who gave it to enjoy,
Grant that its purpose be to save and not destroy.
by Susan Gately