“It’s absolutely statistically undeniable that young people between the age of 17 and 30 really have more accidents and they’re more reckless.”
Former Transport Minister Shane Ross has said a system banning young people from driving at night should be considered in Ireland to prevent road accidents.
Ross appeared on Newstalk Breakfast as the UK Government is to consider introducing a graduated licence system for newly qualified drivers.
Part of the proposals include a night-time curfew and a minimum learning period.
Asked if he would welcome such an idea in Ireland, Ross said: “I think that when you look at the statistics of what’s happening here on road deaths and you recognise the fact that speeding is the main cause of road deaths, any suggestion of this sort should be looked at and looked at very very seriously.
“The numbers went up… on last year. As of yesterday, there were 97 fatalities on Irish roads, which is two more than last year.
“And they were up last year as well and this was due to speeding and this happened at a time when of course, there was less traffic on the road on top of that in Ireland… Things are getting worse here.”
While acknowledging how “irritating” such a system would be for young people, he said it is not about attacking the group.
“What you see here is people dying… on the roads. We see more people dying on the roads with less cars on the roads last year, not more,” Ross said.
“This is about saving lives… It’s absolutely statistically undeniable that young people between the age of 17 and 30 really have more accidents and they’re more reckless. That’s young males in particular.
“So, it’s the duty of the Minister for Transport and others to say ‘what can we do to save other people’s lives?’
“I don’t think it’s too much to look at and examine if it’s statistically and evidentially based, the possibility of saying to younger people: ‘Yeah, you got your licence, well done. You’re 17, 18. But we’re going to bring you on gradually because, statistically, people of your age have a lot of accidents and kill themselves and kill others.'”
Also appearing on Newstalk Breakfast was Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae who called the suggestion to ban young people from driving at night “crazy” and “not fair”.
He said: “We don’t want to see anybody dying, being hurt or injured or maimed on our roads.
“Having said that, starting out and going attacking new young drivers just because they’re young and they’re starting out in life and denying them the same opportunities and putting an embargo on them, a curfew, telling them that they’re not allowed [out] after a certain time in the evening or at night time, I just think they would not agree with it.
“We are becoming a nanny state, we’re trying to wrap people up in cotton wool.”
Healy-Rae said that while speed is a contributing factor to road accidents, there are many others.
He said “the biggest elephant in the room” in this regard is the increase in the number of cars on the road.
Main image via Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie