Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A death on our roads for everyday in October

I HAVE not been at all comfortable with some of the views expressed by other bloggers where they have condemned dead drivers for speeding and all sorts. I can more than understand their anger, of course I can, but I cannot help thinking about the people, their families, who have been left behind. I imagine they have more than enough on their plates without condemnation from people who do not know them.

I know no one has condemned the family but if they came across any of the comments try telling them that. Besides until there is an inquest it is not fair to presume we know how the accidents happened. Meanwhile the carnage on our roads continues; watching the news last night it is clear that the demographic of those who die on our roads are young males.

Reaching those drivers is proving hard, October's death toll on our roads proves that.

RTE’s Nine News last night reported the sobering fact that 459 cases of suspected drink drivers were stopped by the Gardai over the bank holiday weekend. Will these people ever learn?
The accompanying statistics on the item also proved to be emotive with 31 deaths in October, the corresponding names and ages hit home in a way other campaigns haven’t.

I did a quick round up and average of those deaths. I only tallied 30 in the news clip, so I am not sure if I missed one or if RTE did but what I have reveals that of the 30 deaths documented, three were children under three years of age. Of the remaining 27 four were women ranging in age from 24 to 31 with one elderly woman who was 84 years old at the time of her death. The rest were male. The average age of all those who died, not including the children, was 26. Of those eight were teenagers, 11 were in their early 20s and four were in their 30s.

It was somber viewing with such a trail of devastated families in their wake and such a waste of life.

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Bill said...

Whether or not the level of accidents in this country is down to alcohol, speeding, young drivers, learner drivers, I don't know. A few months ago, I moved back to Ireland after living in the UK for over 10 years. Apart from the odd holiday, I'd never driven here for any length of time, but I was REALLY surprised at the quality of the average driver, and I include my own family in this. It seems to me that many Irish drivers (old as well as young) have never properly learned the basics - how to indicate when turning, safe stopping distances, when NOT to overtake, navigating lanes at roundabouts, driving in wet conditions, etc.

For a normal driver, on the road every day, it takes about a year to become a 'good' driver, but you really have to understand the basics first.

Red Mum said...

There is no doubt Bill all drivers take too many risks, I once had a taxi driver tell me there is no requirement for drivers to indicate turning left. I was gobsmacked and couldn't help myself telling him I thought he was talking utter shite.

Having been a pedestrian living beside a very busy four-way roundabout where I was dependent on drivers indicating so that I could cross with my daughter who was a toddler then, not indicating has been a pet peeve of mine with drivers.

I saw a Garda driving while talking on a mobile yesterday, only they are allowed to do it. Does that mean they won't lose concentration and have an accident? Of course not. If they need to use mobiles they should have a hands free kit like the rest of us.

Conor said...

Of course it is awful for the families left behind by dead drivers but I think you are being far too gentle on those drivers.

I don't need an inquest to know what happened when I hear (nearly every day) "single car accident at 3am".

Until we this type of behaviour becomes socially unacceptable and we start properly punishing those who drive like that, they will continue to kill both themselves and others with their incompetence and sociopathic activities.

The most shocking thing about bad drivers in Ireland is that they are as convinced as Rainman that they are excellent drivers. You only have to watch locals negotiating the mini-roundabout near my house to see how few of them understand even the basics. I'm pretty sure you could teach to an ape a drive better than the average Irish person.

I also think we need to start replacing "accident black spot" signs with something like "three drunk cretins died here in the past year. Are you going to be the next one idiot boy?"

Red Mum said...

I still feel Conor that a certain amount of restraint about what we 'think' may have happened in accidents has to be shown. I agree completely that people 'think' they are good drivers, we see it all the time when idiots (unfortunaly it is normally young men) overtake on dodgy parts of the road.

The statistics from October's deaths say a lot too.

I don't know if a hard hitting campaign is going to touch those drivers, they think they are invincibly the best drivers in the world.

One thing that could be done is greater Garda visibilty. We now have traffic cops but I see them stopping taxi drivers more than anything. It should also be made easier to report dangerous driving, there are enough traffic cameras in citys to surely catch some of them.

I still feel we have to be more sensitive to those left behind, they have enough trauma to deal with.

Bernie said...

I believe the traveling public would benefit from receiving fact-based accident investigation reports as the details unfolded on the heels of fatal road incidents.

Just publish the facts every three days, regardless of whether those press releases have been updated or finalised. People can learn from factual reportage that includes time of day, road condition, vehicle condition, driver experience, seat belt usage, and insurance profile.

This is normal reportage in 11 of the 19 States where I lived before. Those would be States in Germany and North America.

WornStMum said...

It is utterly tragic that so many people have lost their lives on the roads in recent weeks. However, let's be realistic here. No condemnation is aimed at the families or victims. The true condemnation is at the authorities, those who create our Rules of the Road and then do not enforce them. We have a road safety system in place that is nothing short of a farce. The policing of drivers is lacking to say the least. Having said that, they are not provided with the manpower and equipment to deal with the problem. As I said in my own blog, will it take a death or serious injury of a Ahern family member before definite, realistic and longterm changes are made and rules are enforced?
My heartfelt sympathies go to the families of all those affected by these deaths and injuries. I just pray that soon, very soon, those that have the power to make real changes listen to the public and act upon our concerns.

Conor said...

I had an interesting application of the rules yesterday. Driving to Dublin from Cork, on the Cashel bypass, a bit too fast to be totally honest (maybe 115kph).

I see a car approaching fast in my rear view mirror (easily doing 125-130kph) but thought I saw a shadow on the roof and guessed it might be a cop car so I eased off and approached the roundabout.

Onto the old road which has a bunch of roadworks on it and noticed too late (on one of those electronic signs which with barely visible text) that it was a 50kph zone and I was doing 65kph.

I slowed down but clearly had broken the law and they sat on my tail.

We come up to a tractor doing 30kph with a car stuck behind him. The car finally loses patience and overtakes on a solid white line but on a totally straight bit of the road with no oncoming traffic or roadworkers.

The cop instantly races past me and the tractor (again on a solid white line in a 50kph zone) and tickets the other driver.

In an ideal world, surely the cop should have been the one to be ticketed?