RSA’s plea to alcohol industry

THE Road Safety Authority has called on the owners of pubs, hotels and restaurants, as well as private party hosts to show greater responsibility towards the safety of their customers.

RSA chief executive Noel Brett said people involved in the hospitality industry and those who invite friends to their homes for drinks, should take steps to ensure that people leaving their premises get home safely.

While Mr Brett acknowledged that the primary onus rested with each individual over their personal consumption of alcohol, he said it had to be recognised that people who served individuals alcohol also had some responsibilities.

Mr Brett said it was time to start asking hard questions because of the large number of drunk drivers and pedestrians killed in road accidents.

He also encouraged everyone consuming alcohol outside their own home to organise a safe way home. He urged owners of licensed premises to play a role in arranging taxis or organising lifts for their customers.

Launching the Make Roads Safe campaign, the slogan of the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 — which was formally launched in over 100 countries yesterday — Mr Brett said road users were being encouraged to change their behaviour.

The UN has set a target of reducing road deaths around the world by 50% by 2020.

“Reducing global road deaths by 50% over the next 10 years seems like an impossible task but Irish road users have shown countries around the world that it can be done,” said Mr Brett.

He said Irish roads deaths have fallen by 48% over the past decade, while there has been a 58% reduction in the number of people seriously injured in road crashes over the same period.

Although 2010 was the safest year on Irish roads, a total of 211 people were still killed with a further 592 suffering serious injuries.

Susan Gray, of road safety campaign group PARC, called on all road users to recognise the personal stories behind cold statistics.

The UN claimed that 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year, with the figure predicted to rise to 1.9 million by 2020.

Road crashes kill more people than malaria and it is the biggest cause of death for young people worldwide with an estimated 80,000 children killed every year. In addition, some 50 million people are injured annually in road collisions.

Chief Superintendent Gabriel McIntyre said the new lower blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drink driving would be “a significant help” in reducing road fatalities.

Gardaí will also begin impairment testing for drug driving in the autumn.

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