Death On The Roads…

After the announcement of Gay Byrne’s appointment as the chairman of the Road Safety Authority I had a thought. Why not ask some of those closest to the problem (the young people who, we keep hearing, are drinking, drugging and speeding themselves into oblivion) wehat they think will help cut road deaths and they were forthcoming with their opinions…

I think common sense would stop road deaths. If u see a friend stumbling outta de pub an into his car stop him. Sounds simple right?

Why dont cars b made that dont go above 80kph say? Dec from Athlone

Slow dem stupid boy racers down n teach dem 2 drive when it doesn’t involve doughnuts

Martin in athy. Engine size should be determined by age this should stop 18 year olds drivin 2 litre high performance cars

Change the speed limits on some country roads. Privatise the traffic offenses authority.

Driver training and road improvements. Eddie. Waterford.

Driver’s ed in school! I’m in transition yr and we cant do it as it wud cost 80 euro each, martin cullen shud get his arse ‘into gear’ ha ha.

Raise d age u hav 2b 2drive. Im 23 and a safe driver and my insurance is high becaus of there fools wit their civics speedin round d place !!

Better public transport. Wouldn’t need so many cars on road. Free in perth city austrailia worked a charm

Ive been driving for almost two years and I have never even come close to being stopped by a cop.I dont think Gay Byrne is going to rally(pardon the pun) the young drivers behind him.Most of these crashes happen about 3 in the morning when cocky young boy racers reckon it’s safe to soar miles over the speed limit because they think the night time rural roads are quiet. They end up crashing in a telegraph pole or at tree.I know because every Sunday morning I hear of some local eejit who has ended up in some ditch. Thankfully they are not often killed but it’s only a matter of time!

I’ve a tracking device in my car with axa it monitors my speed all the time, this means i have to obey the speed in all speeding zones, put them in al cars from g n galway

The fear of getting caught. Ie more gards

The only thing that will improve matters is proper training. It’s a disgrace that someone can drive for up to 4 years without having to do a test. Donal

Left hand drive cars from eastern europe. How can they see to overtake?

More random garda checkpoints on minor roads especially at night. Cathriona in Cavan

Safety belts, u’d b suprised d amount of people who don’t giv a flyin poo an don’t wear them. From Eleanor in Limerick.

Sorry rick but its drink driving and high on drugs barry in Monaghan

Same speed limiters as lorries with tacographs 4 all, take care of open roads speeding. Leave garda available for speeding in town/rural areas. John 21 offaly.

Most road deaths are on sub standard roads. Simple do 50mph and you will get home alive.Kieran from cork

Random breath testing between 2 to 4 in the morning at wkends.This is when majority of accidents are occuring.Martina from cavan.Ps i enjoy ur show..

hopefully gay will introduce cheap fuel efficient speed restricted funderland bumper cars

Breathalizer chks in pub car parks, no driving without full licence, ppl stop using handheld fone, women off rd, no sunday drivers. Ger, templeogue

When penality points first came in seemed to cut road dead maybe follow through on this idea before getting another new idea

If the 17-year olds in my class can afford a €2000 stake in a pyramid scheme, they can afford car insurance. Driver’s education is a great idea

Stricter licensing laws..(full license b4 let solo driving)… Capping speed capabilities of cars…More garda presence…Defo school drivers ed, it’s a major life skill! A bit more important than bunson burners n dissecting worms..

What do you think? Comments below are very welcome…

There’s also a poll running HERE


4 thoughts on “Death On The Roads…

  1. Immediately disqualify anyone from driving who would write ‘chks’ instead of ‘checks’ and ‘rd’ instead of ‘road’.

    Those are the sort of cunts who would go through a red light without thinking.

  2. This is a complex problem, and there’s no simple solution to it.

    Driving is a risky business; always was and always will be. Any activity where there is human involvement is risky. People are unpredictable and stupid.

    The NRA’s collisions report for 2004 is here. Some of the facts below are taken from it.

    An interesting fact that most people ignore when talking about the number of deaths on our roads is that in the last 10-15 years, the number of cars on our roads has increased significantly, while road deaths have consistently fallen. In 1994, there were about 330 fatalities per million vehicles registered, with a total of about 410 fatalities that year. In 2004, there were less than 200 fatalities per million registered vehicles, with 374 fatalities overall. So, with an increase from 1.2 to 2.1 million vehicles (approx) on our roads, in 10 years, fatalities have fallen by nearly 9%.

    Of course, any fatality is one too many; this is intended to provide some context for the figures consistently wheeled out by the media and the government. Modern cars are much safer than their forebears, and Ireland has a remarkably new vehicle fleet compared to some of it’s neighbours in Europe. This certainly helps to bring down the number of fatalities. It also makes drivers complacent – if they have safer cars, then they can get away with more. It’s a trap all of us fall into.

    We are a nation of bad drivers. In the 9 or so years I’ve been driving, I’ve seen people drive the wrong way up a dual-carriageway, fall out of the pub at 01:00 and drive up the middle of a main road oblivious to all around them, overtake on blind bends and hills where they have no way out if another car comes against them. Lane discipline is non-existant in many cases. It’s selfish, and endemic in the Irish mentality: “I’ll do what I want when I want and no-one’s going to tell me otherwise!”. We’re bad mannered on the road. A certain amount of bad behaviour on the roads can be attributed to idiotic road design – some roads in this country could only have been designed by a one-armed chimpanzee after 10 pints of lager. People do the ‘wrong’ thing because it makes sense, and crash into people obeying the road markings. Doesn’t necessarily excuse the fact that they did the wrong thing, but casts doubt over the validity of the ‘right’ way.

    There is a significant cohort of older drivers in this country who have never undergone a formal driving test to get their licence: there was a time when one just had to send off in the post for a licence. This was fine back in the 50s and 60s when there were very few cars on our roads, and no roundabouts, or dual-carriageways or motorways. Modern roads require modern driving, and a lot of these drivers should be forced to sit the driving test. Due to a huge testing backlog in the 80s a large nunmber of ‘amnesty’ licences were issued. People were given a full driving licence without any test. How Irish is that: rather than put money into improving the testing system so that the backlog could be cleared properly, the government decided it was easier to let people onto the roads without testing them! Then we have the system of provisional licences where you can happily drive away for 4 years without doing any test, and even if you fail then you can drive away from the test centre and come back in another 2 years when your next provisional expires, etc. Bin them now. No-one should be allowed drive unaccompanied on public roads until they have been able to demonstrate basic competency in driving a car.

    Incidentally this is all the current driving test is – a short drive around an urban environment to see if you can start and stop the car properly, obey traffic signs, behave in traffic, etc. A UK survey some years back found that the average speed achieved during driving tests there (a fairly similar test to ours) was 22mph. So a 35 minute spin around town at little more than walking pace is enough to qualify someone to hit motorways at 120kph. Indeed there is no legal barrier to someone passing their test here at 17 or 18 years of age and travelling to somewhere like Germany and driving down an unrestrcited autobahn at whatever speed they like. This is not right at all. High speed driving on motorways and dual-carriageways requires a very different set of skills to driving in an urban environment. There is currently no system in place here to ensure that people get those skills in a proper and controlled fashion.

    It’s no coincidence that the European countries with the lowest road death tolls have some of the best driver education systems. Putting up speed cameras on the M7 or the N18 will not stop the accidents that are happening at 03:00 on rural roads because people are drunk or high nor will it stop the accidents that happen because Mr Businessman in his BMW 530d is in a hurry and overtakes someone on a bend. This will only be fixed by high visibility patrols, particularly around pubs at closing time, and vastly improved driver training.

    In summary, what we need to fix this problem is (in my opinion at least):
    A realisation that there are more cars on the road which will lead to more accidents
    More intelligent road design
    Better driver education
    Targeted enforcement of motoring legislation

    One thing we really don’t need is privatised speeding enforcement – private companies are only interested in making money and the easiest way to make money from speeding fines is to go for soft targets where most speeding occurs and where the fewest accidents and deaths occur.

    Apologies if this post seems overly long, but it’s an argument that needs to be made properly!


  3. i as a driver a young male driver, fit right into a argument like this. first id like to say that i am a rally driver, this means that i do have skill but this is ussally kept to CLOSED backroads with loads of safty stuff.

    right the main problum is 1. roads and 2. people

    the roads issue isent a problum for me, as i mainly drive the same roads all the time so i know them, but there are roads i havent and i dont know where the holes and bumps are. there deffently should be more signs up for this, ive been very close about 2 time where my left tyre has gone into a small hole or dip at the side of teh road and pulled it in, this can pull the stering wheel out of your hands and there is nothing you can do. (this happens at more of a higher speed but you can get caught out sometimes) the next is the people driving, there are some bad ones out there they just dont have a clue, i dont know how to solve this one but something has to be done. also the last thing is SLOW driver kill more
    as people get frustrated and overtake on dangeros places.

    the funny thing is the garda, in my town a friend of mine is a gardas son. ive been driveing about a year. and this week is the first time ive seen them out (twice in one week) so i asked him whats going on, he said theyve got a new machine so they are like kids getting a new toy and want to play with it, i bet in 2 weeks time i wont see then ever again.

  4. Thank you, particularly Donal and Anthony for your posts which have helped me think about the issue.

    1 Given that the number of road deaths per car seems to be falling, why are we not celebrating success? We need more evidence of this type based on analysis. For example, what’s the average number of miles driven by each car today? That needs to be factored in, so that we can see a fuller picture.

    2 Don’t we need data by garda area, so that we can compare garda performance on safety? I know that the garda are not responsible for the accidents but, if such figures were published, it would give them an incentive to work harder for better safety. We need the same data by local authory area, so that we can hold local councils responsible for safety on the roads for which they are responsible.

    3 I see that the signs which used to advertise the number of local deaths (fatalities) are now falling into disrepair.

    4 Pareto’s Law will apply to accidents. Over 80% of accidents will occur in 20% of the places where accidents can happen. Over 90% of accidents will be caused by 10% of the drivers. We need to seek out the most frequent places and people and target them.

    Thanks again.

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