Death On The Roads
Sir, - In her column of September 19th, Ms Maire Geoghegan-Quinn revealed, inter alia, that road safety is the responsibility of three separate Government departments and eight outside agencies. Although she did not say so, it is a safe bet that in-fighting and buck-passing are the order of the day.
Against this farcical background it is not surprising that the situation on our roads has deteriorated into general chaos. What is even worse there is little indication (apart from talk) that anything positive is being done about it.
Ms Geoghegan-Quinn's solution is that a single body should be set up with sole responsibility for safety on our roads. This proposal, which, on the face of it, seems reasonable enough, fills me with foreboding. I fear the upshot would be that, instead of 11 agencies as at present, we would then have 12 agencies involved in road safety. Moreover, if past experience is anything to go by, it would take years to establish such an agency and even longer still to make it in any way effective.
Surely the agency in a position to deal with every aspect of road safety (apart from law enforcement) already exists in the form of the Department of the Environment. What is absent is the political will to make it work. Until such time as road safety becomes a political issue with votes at stake, motorists will have to contend with a driving environment which, by generating frustration, confusion and uncertainty, seems designed to contribute to road accidents rather than the other way around.
What is required now is action on the part of the Government to tackle all the contributory factors involved in road accidents. The last thing we need is yet another agency. - Yours, etc., M. D. Kennedy,