Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today acknowledged the valuable role the voluntary and community sector play in working to make our roads a safer place.
Mr Durkan made his comments when presenting awards to members of Foyle U3A (University of the Third Age) and Easilink Community Transport who had recently completed Road Safety Training funded through the 2013/14 DOE Road Safety Grant Funding Programme.
U3A Foyle delivers a full programme of events and activities aimed to help keep people active as well as socially and culturally involved in their Later Years. U3A are working in partnership with Easilink Community Transport to deliver a road safety programme.
Mr Durkan advised: ?I commend the good work being done at local level by community and voluntary groups. This project will help us reach out further to the community and educate members of the importance of road safety. Everyone who uses the roads has to play a part and must adjust their behaviours to suit the conditions. Drivers, particularly, need to concentrate and not get distracted, always wear a seatbelt, never drink and drive and moderate their speed to the road and the conditions. We all need to heed the key messages that will help keep us all safe.
He continued: “Mindful of the difficult start to the New Year, I believe that reducing further all deaths and serious injuries on our roads, with the ultimate ambition of ‘Vision Zero’, where any death is unacceptable, is an important and achievable objective. Indeed, I believe it has to be our objective.
“Road deaths are overwhelmingly due to human error which means we can prevent them. If we ask how many road deaths are acceptable some people offer different numbers. But if I were to ask what would be acceptable within a person’s own close community or even their family circle, surely the answer would be ‘none’, in every case.
“Zero may seem to be beyond our grasp, particularly given the first few weeks of this year, but to work relentlessly towards it must not be beyond our ambition.
?No one is saying it is going to be easy or achieved over night. The challenge will be to maintain and deepen the momentum of recent years.
?I want to call on the entire community to support this principle. Encourage your friends, your family to sign up to the pledge at www.sharetheroadtozero.com
?We need to ingrain this into society and into our collective consciousness so it becomes second nature. The reward will be worth it.
?Until we reach the stage when no-one dies on our roads and, indeed, no-one is seriously injured, we must ensure we never become complacent.
?We share the road, so we have to share the responsibility. Everyone has the right to travel on our roads. And everyone has the right to come home safely to their loved ones. I urge you, as a driver, rider, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or horse rider, to Share The Road To Zero?.
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