Tough fines in bid to cut road deaths

Tough fines in bid to cut road deaths

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has backed tough new sanctions from the PSNI aimed at reducing the number of road deaths in Northern Ireland.

In the past, motorists caught for offences such as failing to wear a seatbelt, using a mobile phone while driving, or exceeding the speed limit, could have received a discretionary warning.But from Friday, a £60 fine and three penalty points will be issued.The number of people who have died this year so far as a result of road collisions exceeds the total number of deaths on the roads for the whole of 2013.Fifty-four people have lost their lives on the roads so far in 2014 - compared to 57 road deaths in 2013 and 48 in 2012.We all need to accept responsibility for our behaviour on the road and the consequences that followMark H DurkanMinister Durkan, SDLP, said: "My department, working with many other organisations, continues to work towards a vision of zero road deaths. "Visible enforcement of our road traffic laws is an important part of this. "Our road traffic laws exist to keep us all safe. I therefore welcome PSNI's recent announcements about their enforcement activity and will continue to work closely with them."Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said the majority of road deaths are preventable.He continued: "Our approach to road safety has always been twofold; education and enforcement. We need to do everything we can to make people understand that their actions can have serious consequences and we have spent considerable resources, along with our partner agencies, educating people on road safety."And we will continue to do this however we also need to make sure unsafe drivers are held accountable and at times this will mean an increased focus on enforcement."He added: "This is not about making money. It's about saving lives. The increase in deaths on our roads is something we should all be worried about, but more importantly, is something we can all do something about."We cannot stress enough the importance of wearing seatbelts, ignoring the mobile phone, and driving within the speed limits and in response to the road conditions. We all need to take responsibility for making our roads safer."

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