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No All-Island Speed Limit 8 November 2004

The Department of Transport is going ahead with a range of initiatives to reduce death and injury on the roads of the Isle of Man.

The move was confirmed by Minister John Shimmin MHK today (November 8, 2004) following consideration of over 400 responses made to a major public consultation exercise.

More than one hundred (112) people were killed on the Island's roads between 1993 and 2003, and more than one thousand (1042) were seriously injured.

The Department will now progress a wide range of initiatives including: raising the driving test age from 16 to 17; reducing the legal blood alcohol level for driving from 80ml to 50ml; extending the 'R' plate period for new drivers from one to two years; the periodic testing of older vehicles; tighter enforcement of existing laws against unsafe driving; and a renewed emphasis on education, training and public awareness.

The Department's most contentious proposal - the introduction of a top all-Island speed limit of 60mph with a 70mph maximum on the Mountain Road - will not be pursued for the time being.

Of 408 letters submitted in the public consultation, 281 (69%) were firmly against this proposal. Of those opponents, 42 were from off the Island.

Mr Shimmin explained:

"The public consultation was a valuable exercise to help gather views and information as evidence to be taken into account. I'd like to thank everyone who took the trouble to participate.

A public consultation is not binding like a referendum, for example, and the responses received do not outweigh Government's duty to do what's best for the whole community. However, we should at least listen to the feedback and be guided by it in deciding on the next steps.

"The Department will therefore be proceeding with a wide range of other road safety initiatives. Progress will be closely monitored and we hope that people will get the message that irresponsible driving is socially unacceptable in this day and age.

"However, it may well be that further experience and evidence confirm the need for all-Island speed limits to reinforce the road safety regime."

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