Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan has today spoken out about the lack of data available to researchers on road safety in Ireland.
Senator Boylan raised the issue with the Minister for Transport, calling for the use of powers available to direct the RSA to publish statistics relating to road safety.
Senator Boylan said:
“I am concerned by the Minister for Transport’s response to my question on the need for the Road Safety Authority to release data about road safety incidents to researchers.
“It is unacceptable that the RSA has not released incident-level data for years, preventing researchers from accessing key information needed to improve road safety and save lives.
“The RSA’s current practice of providing only aggregated data at the county level is of very little use to researchers who need detailed information about specific roads.
“The RSA used to share data on an online map until 2016, but has since used GDPR as an excuse for not releasing the data. GDPR requirements are not a valid excuse.
“Other EU countries are releasing this information in a timely manner, proving that GDPR compliance is not a barrier.
“Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006, the Minister for Transport has a responsibility to address this issue. It is time for the Minister to use the powers available to him under section 8 of the Act to direct the RSA to release this critical information.
“I welcome that the Minister has drafted an order under this section. But he says he needs to consult with the Data Protection Commissioner and then draft new legislation. Unfortunately, I don’t get a sense of urgency from him.
“We are at a critical juncture in redesigning roads for active travel. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we have this information because safety concerns are the main obstacle to more people shifting to cycling.
“The public has a right to access this data, and it is essential for improving road safety. I urge the Minister to act now and ensure that the RSA begins to publish and distribute the statistics that researchers require.
“If the RSA needs additional resources or expertise to do so, the Minister should consult with them under section 8 subsection 2 to provide the necessary support.
“This is a matter of public safety and cannot be ignored. The Minister must act now to ensure that Irish roads are safe for all who use them.”