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Written Answers - Road Safety

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 682.  Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  if he is considering new regulations to make a rear window wiper a mandatory safety feature on all cars; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16830/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The introduction of national regulations to make rear window wipers mandatory is not currently under consideration.

All cars entering the Irish fleet must conform to the European Communities Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) standard which includes the requirement to have wipers on the front of the vehicle under Directive 78/318/EEC (as amended). Rear wipers are not mandatory but are voluntarily fitted on most hatchbacks as this car body shape is more prone to a build up of water and dirt on the rear window due to its incline. Saloon cars generally have a more sloped rear window which is less prone to an accumulation of water and dirt and is essentially self cleaning. If Ireland was to mandate rear wipers (even though they are not required under ECWVTA), this could be viewed by the European Commission as a barrier to trade, thus infringing EU market legislation and leaving Ireland open to the possibility of penalties from the Commission.

 683.  Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  if he is considering making backward-facing child car seats mandatory in view of the international research that indicates that such seats are 80% safer for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16831/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Government transposed the EU Directive governing the use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) into Irish law in September 2006 which requires infants from birth up to 13kgs (29lbs) in weight (Approximate Age Range from birth to 12-15 months) to be restrained in a rearward facing child restraint that conforms to EU product standards (ECR44). This affords significantly greater protection for a baby’s head, neck and spine in the event of a collision. I am informed that the Road Safety Authority is focused on educating parents and guardians, though it’s ‘Check it Fits’ roadshow, on the need to ensure that children are travelling in the appropriate CRS and that infants are not moved to a forward facing seat too soon.


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