Call to make emergency packs compulsory for drivers

The Garda Commissioner has proposed the creation of a new motoring offence to penalise drivers who fail to carry special emergency equipment in their cars.

According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, gardaí want to make it an offence not to carry a working torch, breakdown triangle, high-visibility vest, first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher at all times while driving.

Earlier this year the Road Safety Authority held a public consultation about the possible introduction of emergency packs in private cars.

As part of this, the Garda Commissioner was contacted and asked for her view.

In correspondence released under FOI, a superintendent at the Garda Commissioner’s office recommended that Ireland should introduce legislation similar to that in France, where it is compulsory to carry emergency packs in cars.

Gardaí say the packs should include a quality working torch, a warning triangle, high visibility vest, a first-aid kit and a small fire extinguisher.

The items would cost around €40-50.

Gardaí want to see the creation of a new road traffic offence with on the spot fines for drivers who fail to carry the items in their cars.

They say penalty points could also be considered at a later stage to help with enforcement.

Gardaí believe the inclusion of emergency packs in cars would go a long way towards improving safety at roadside collisions, particularly in rural areas with poor lighting conditions.

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