No sign of `essential' road-safety computer after two-year wait

 

The Government has failed to install a traffic-offence computer system that was described more than two years ago as essential to the campaign for reducing road deaths.

The system was to have been installed and running by this year. But The Irish Times has learned that the Department of the Environment has been unable to prepare a tender system. According to Garda sources, it appears that it will be at least another two years before the system is introduced.

The computer system was a central pillar of the Government policy document, The Road to Safety, for reducing road deaths, introduced in July 1998 by the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern.

The system is designed to manage detection and capture systems for speeding and other offences, and to provide a fully automated processing system for on-the-spot fines.

The Government's traffic-policy document described the system as "essential technology" and said its implementation would be "addressed as a matter of urgency".

The apparent Government failure to implement the traffic-law enforcement policies was criticised on Tuesday by the chairman of the Road Safety Authority, Mr Eddie Shaw. The Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, yesterday described Mr Shaw's criticisms as "outrageous".

Mr Shaw was commenting as this year's rate of fatalities reached 408 on Tuesday night. It is expected that by the end of the year deaths on the roads for 2000 will surpass the 413 total for 1999.