Road fatalities trend worsening - O'Donoghue

 

Up to 600 people will have died on the roads by the end of this year if the pattern in accidents continues, according to the Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue.

"The statistics for 1998 tragically show that if the present trend in fatal accidents continues, the total number of fatalities for this year could reach between 500 and 600," he said. ail. Mr O'Donoghue said 453 people died in road accidents in 1996 and 474 last year. Gardai are strengthening their law-enforcement tactics."

He said 37,000 speeding offences were detected between July 14th and October 12th last year. That "sends its own very clear message about our observance of these laws".

Fine Gael's justice spokesman, Mr Jim Higgins, said "the system is simply not working and something will have to be done to grasp the nettle". Forty-seven people had died this year, "well over one per day" which meant "we're heading for an unfortunate tragic record again in 1998".

i. The introduction of new equipment to help them fight speeding on the roads was welcome, he said. The statistics for prosecution of speeding "are to say the very, very least impressive". The number of convictions in 1993 was 29,590. In 1996 it was 33,387.

The Garda Commissioner had appealed to motorists to slow down, to wear a seat belt and not to drink and drive.