Making the Roads Safer
The majority of road crashes are caused by human error. Research has shown that driver error accounts for over 80% of all fatal and injury crashes on Irish roads.
The main causes of death and injury on Irish roads remain speeding, drink driving and non-wearing of seatbelts.
Because most traffic accidents are the product of several factors, the probability of accidents can be reduced in a number of different ways. There is no doubt that the following activities have prevented the increase in accidents that would normally result from increases in traffic density. There are three main approaches to preventing accidents:
- Education and training of (a) children in school by road-traffic instructors and school teachers; and of (b) adolescents in the principles of safe driving and in good driving attitudes; by (c) refresher courses for older drivers to bring home safe-driving principles and to refresh their knowledge of traffic law; and by means of (d) newspaper, radio television, and other publicity, to draw the attention of all road users both to dangers and to safe practices on the road.
- Enforcement by (a) adopting reasonable and enforceable traffic laws which, at the same time, are best designed to prevent accidents; (b) concentrating the time and energy of traffic officers on the offences, locations, and times that feature frequently in accidents; and (c) thoroughly testing new drivers to ensure they will not be liable to cause accidents.
- Engineering of vehicles and roads: Vehicle engineering, comprising (a) regular inspection for a “warrant of fitness” to ensure that the main components of the vehicle are safe; (b) improving the design of the vehicle to give ease of vision and control to the driver and so reduce the likelihood of injury in an accident; (c) fitting safety equipment, such as seat belts.
Road or traffic engineering comprises;
- The design of new roads which are inherently safe (separating opposing traffic flows, eliminating cross traffic, and providing wide shoulders and traffic lanes and good visibility);
- Improving existing roads by realignment, improving vision, and resurfacing slippery surfaces;
- Regulating traffic movement by installing traffic signals, traffic islands, road markings, and regulatory signs such as “stop” and “give way” signs;
- Assisting the driver with warning and destination signs to avoid danger and confusion.
You can find more information on some of the general causes of accidents on our roads here.