02 August 2012
Varadkar announces introduction of penalty points on August bank holiday weekend
Statistics released by the RSA earlier this month have shown that in the first six months of this year, 23% of drivers killed and 29% of passengers killed were not wearing seatbelts. A particularly worrying feature is the number of people not wearing a seatbelt and who were ejected from the vehicle.
Minister Varadkar said: “We have made significant strides in recent years to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. However, the Gardaí still report that a large number of people do not wear their seatbelt or allow other passengers to travel unrestrained.
The Minister continued: “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.”
Mr. Noel Brett, Chief Executive, RSA said, “Putting on a seatbelt only takes a few seconds and it’s something we do automatically. Despite this there is a minority who are willing to put their lives at risk by not wearing one. Wearing a seatbelt significantly increases your chance of survival and can reduce the severity of your injuries if involved in a collision. According to the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in the UK around 2 out of 3 people will survive or have less serious injuries if they are wearing a seat belt. If you do not wear a seatbelt you become a potential killer in a crash. You will be thrown around the inside of a car, possibly seriously injuring or killing other occupants in the car. Quite simply, without a seatbelt you’re a killer.”
Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips said: “An Garda Siochana welcomes the changes to the penalty point system, and since their introduction in 2002 many lives have been saved as a result. In particular, the use of a seatbelt in the front and especially the rear of a vehicle is the most basic form of road safety. It is the simplest and most effective way to protect all occupants in any vehicle. We also wish to remind all road users to take extra care on the roads this August Bank Holiday weekend. July and August are known to be high risk periods on our roads. Last year, 2 people were tragically killed and six people were seriously injured over the August Bank Holiday period. Large numbers of drivers will be travelling to sometimes unfamiliar places around the country, so we are appealing to all drivers to slow down, take their time, be well rested, wear their seatbelt at all times and never ever drink and drive. Finally, as with all existing penalty point offences, we wish to remind the public that they have nothing to fear from penalty points once they are compliant with our road traffic laws. Ultimately, they are designed to save lives and prevent injuries and at the end of the day, this is our number one goal.”
Minister Varadkar concluded: “Since 2000 a total of 55 lives have been lost and 147 people have been seriously injured over August Bank Holiday weekends. I want to take this opportunity to remind all road users, motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, to take care on our roads this bank holiday weekend.”
Issued by: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office. Tel: (01) 604 1090 / (01) 604 1087.
See full list of Penalty Point offences here