Belfast Telegraph

Mother of crash victim relieved as roads bill passed

Despite opposition from some rural TDs, the bill was passed in the Dail, with 75 TDs voting in favour.

A mother who lost her son in a road crash said she is “relieved” after a controversial road traffic legislation was passed in the Dail.

The bill, proposed by Transport Minister Shane Ross, imposes stricter penalties for drink drivers, including automatic disqualification for all drink-drivers caught with more than 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Despite opposition from some rural TDs, the bill was passed in the Dail, with 75 TDs voting in favour.

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Minister Shane Ross (Nick Ansell/PA)

Members of the Rural Independent Group, including Michael Healy-Rae, were accused of rambling and filibustering in an attempt to block the bill.

Speaking at the launch of the Project Edward – European Day Without A Road Death – on Friday, Donna Price said that roads deaths devastate families’ lives.

She founded Ireland’s Road Victim’s Association in memory of her 18-year-old son Darren who was killed in a collision on his way to college 10 years ago.

She said: “His death had such a devastating impact on our family that we were compelled to do something.

“With a number of other victim’s families, we have come together to give a stronger voice to road victims and bring about change in their memory.

“Road deaths absolutely devastate a family, they are destroyed country-wide.

“They are preventable deaths and we can play our part in trying to prevent them.

“We are relieved this bill has passed, but we listened over the last few months to the delaying tactics and filibustering on the part of some rural TDs.

“The reality is that about 80% of deaths happen on rural roads.

“This is only a small change in legislation, much more needs to be done.”

Moyagh Murdock, Ireland’s Road Safety Authority chief executive, said there was an “overwhelming” support for the bill.

The roads safety campaigner said that the bill was brought forward on facts and evidence.

“There is unequivocal evidence that every year around eight people lose their lives because someone was drunk driving,” she said.

She added that people have been killed or injured during the long delay in passing the bill.

“These TDs are there representing some of their constituents, not all of them,” she said.

“They should keep the fight up and look for proper transport but not on the back of people being killed as a consequence of drink driving.”

The roads minister said that victims’ families were forced to sit through 15 hours of debate, adding that no one should continue to suffer because of drunk drivers.

Mr Ross said: “It’s been an endurance test, and those who have delayed this legislation should go back and reflect on the utter recklessness of what they are doing in the face of the danger to lives from alcohol.”

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