Road Safety: DFI Initiatives

Oral Answers to Questions — Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 16 April 2024.

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Photo of Jonathan Buckley Jonathan Buckley DUP 2:30, 16 April 2024

T8. Mr Buckley asked the Minister for Infrastructure whether he and his departmental officials, who must be gravely concerned, have reassessed potential initiatives to improve safety on our roads, given that, during Question Time, we have heard many examples of tragic incidents on our roads, particularly in 2024, with single-vehicle collisions causing the death of more than one person and with figures in 2023 showing 69 deaths on our roads compared with 55 in 2022. (AQT 188/22-27)

Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin

Yes, I hope to be able to bring a renewed road safety strategy to the Executive in the next number of weeks, or perhaps into next month. The Member is right to highlight the fact that there has been an increase in the number of lives being lost on our roads. There has been an increase not only in multiple fatality incidents but in incidents in which a single life has been lost. I appeal to all road users, be they drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians, to be conscious of the fact that every action that they take on the road will define their fate or somebody else's fate. If they take the wrong decision, they or somebody else may not go home.

Photo of Jonathan Buckley Jonathan Buckley DUP

Thank you, Minister. Trying to ensure that we can minimise the number of such incidents on our roads is something on which the House is united. I particularly think of some of the very effective advertisement campaigns that the Department has had in times past that have shown the harrowing impact of unsafe driving on our roads. Has the Minister given consideration to increasing the number of such advertisements? There seems to have been a decline in them. I ask him to comment on that.

Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin

I am discussing that matter with my officials. Unfortunately, owing to budget constraints, the very effective road safety adverts that were on our televisions have not been on as frequently. Part of the engagement that I have had with my officials has been to look at what the most effective advertising forum or platform is to use, particularly for young people who are very vulnerable on our roads as drivers, pedestrians, cyclists or whatever. Using a digital platform is probably the most effective way in which to do it. I am talking to officials about how we can launch an advertising campaign across social media to ensure that we are getting the message out to those who are most vulnerable on our roads.