The Government has launched its latest road safety strategy ‘Closing the Gap’, which will run until 2020, and vehicle maintenance and repair features strongly in the plan.
The RSA says vehicles need to be properly maintained to ensure their safe operation. The RSA says that recent economic challenges may deter vehicle owners from undertaking routine maintenance.
In addition, the vehicle fleet is ageing, giving rise to increased risk of vehicles becoming defective. Awareness of the necessity to maintain vehicles needs to be reinforced, so as to avoid increased collision risks on the road network.
The RSA says that road deaths and injuries could be reduced by up to a third if motorists updated their vehicle to the safest model in its class.
Vehicles with higher safety ratings not only reduce the likelihood of collisions occurring but also reduce the severity of injuries.
Continued improvements in vehicle design and the incorporation of new technologies have increased the level of protection for occupants and other road users when vehicles are involved in collisions.
Improvements include better side impact protection, frontal crash protection, padded head areas, seatbelt reminders, intelligent air bags and pedestrian protection. Such initiatives improve vehicle standards and make the transport system safer.
The use of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding). The RSA sayd that Ireland will support the ideal of CARS 21 High Level Group that seeks to develop the European Automotive Industry in the European Union by improving the safety and environmental performance of vehicles14.
The RSA says that consideration will be given, during the lifetime of the new road safety strategy, to examine the feasibility of removing or reducing the rate of VAT and / or VRT on safety related equipment and/or technology.
A vehicle rectification scheme that would require prompt repair of any vehicle defects will be considered during the course of this road safety strategy. The National Car Test will be reviewed continually to ensure it provides the safest standards of vehicles on the road.
Within the period of the strategy, all vehicles will be required to have an emergency kit in the vehicle. This emergency kit will contain at least first aid material, a high visibility vest and a breakdown triangle.
During the lifetime of the road safety strategy, the RSA says it will work with the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) to educate drivers about the importance of maintaining vehicles in a roadworthy condition and in preparation for adverse weather conditions. In that light its has commited to running two national campaigns jointly per annum.
The RSA has also commited to work with the Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) to educate drivers about tyre safety, maintenance and checking. The RSA will also run two national campaigns jointly per annum.
The Authority has also commited to working with the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) to promote compliance with learner permit regulations and rules relating to vehicle modifications.
The RSA says it will also work with and educate Fleet Management Companies and procurers of fleet vehicles to ensure that vehicle safety (NCAP) ratings are given consideration when choosing and purchasing vehicles.