New road safety laws a big step in the right direction for Northern Ireland

News from Brake
13th January 2016

news@brake.org.uk

Tougher drink drive laws, increased police powers, and restrictions on new drivers a big step in the right direction for road safety in Northern Ireland

Brake, the road safety charity, is welcoming the new Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill in Northern Ireland which has passed its final stage at the Assembly.  When the Bill becomes law, which should be in a matter of weeks, it will see tougher drink driving laws, tougher police powers for breath tests, night restrictions on young drivers carrying passengers and a mandatory minimum period for learning to drive before taking the test.

74 people lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland in 2015. That’s 74 families and communities devastated and Brake understands the far reaching impact of these deaths from its extensive work with road crash victims’ families. This new legislation is a vital tool for Northern Ireland as it strives for the goal of not one single person killed on its roads.

Young drivers are a shocking three times more likely to be killed on the roads in Northern Ireland and four times more likely to be responsible for fatal crashes than drivers over 25. We strongly support the Assembly’s aim to reduce the number of young fatalities on its roads by 55% and are urging the rest of the UK to reintroduce casualty reduction targets.  

Brake’s director of campaigns and communications, Gary Rae said: “This is a Bill designed to save lives and we welcome it. The reduction of the drink drive alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml for all drivers and 20mg/100ml for those newly qualified will help save more lives.  We would prefer the lower limit to be enforced for all drivers, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Too many young drivers are losing their lives – shockingly, three times as many are likely to be killed on the roads in Northern Ireland, and four times as many are more likely to be responsible for fatal crashes than drivers over 25.  We strongly support the introduction of what looks like the beginnings of a Graduated Driver Licence scheme, with a minimum learning period and restrictions on passenger numbers for new drivers. Northern Ireland is once again leading the way in the UK when it comes to road safety legislation and we would urge other governments to look closely at this Bill and follow suit to keep all road users safer.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

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Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.