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Crash data issue should be resolved ‘quickly’

The lack of sharing of data on road collisions is “nonsense” and should be resolved “as quickly as possible”, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has told the Dáil.

He was responding to RTÉ’s Prime Time’s revelation that engineering teams in local authorities cannot access data on road collisions which have occurred over the last six years due to GDPR concerns.

“It is not satisfactory that this has gone on, that this inability to share collision data because of GDPR,” Mr Martin said.

He noted that a “specialist group has been established to resolve this”.

Mr Martin added: “I think it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. Cause this is nonsense.”

Road deaths are a “very serious issue” with “a significant increase in recent years,” he said.

“We do need more evidence-based approach,” Mr Martin said, as suggested by leader of the Labour Party Ivana Bacik.

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Ms Bacik raised the issue, noting that there have been more than 60 deaths on the roads this year.

The lack of information is “apparently due to GDPR concerns” which Prime Time will document tonight, she said, and called for immediate action on the issue.

Speeding, drink driving ‘massive challenges of our time’

Earlier, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said speeding and drink and drug driving are the “massive challenges of our time”.

She said hundreds of cars were being taken off the roads every week because drivers did not have insurance.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said more and more people were being caught under the influence and they have to “nip that in the bud”.

“What we’ve already seen this year, where information around insurance has been provided to gardaí because they now all have handheld devices, we are seeing hundreds of cars every week being taken off the road for people who don’t have insurance,” she said.

“We know that people who drive without insurance are more likely to have bad behaviours as well, so there’s so many factors that will influence and help us turn the tide here.

“Having information and making sure that cars are roadworthy, that they have insurance that they have tax, but also that they’re adhering to the rules.

“Speeding, drink and drug driving – they are the massive challenges of our time and we’re seeing more and more people being caught under the influence of drugs and drink and we have to nip that in the bud.”

Ms McEntee said enforcement was a “key part” of the overall objective, adding that it was not just the Roads Policing Unit that carries out roads policing.

She said about 25% of checks are carried out by frontline gardaí who are in regular units.

“The Bank Holiday weekend alone just gone, over 5,000 people were stopped and checked for drink and drug driving, and that was done by just our regular units,” she said.

She said she wants garda numbers to get to 15,000 “and go beyond that” and that more gardaí is her “number one priority”.

Yesterday, chair of the Road Safety Authority Liz O’Donnell said the level of non-compliance on Ireland’s roads is “off the scale”.

She also called for average-speed cameras to be installed as quickly as possible.

Ms O’Donnell said observational studies have shown high levels of non-compliance in terms of speeding, mobile phone use and drink driving.

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