Road Deaths

Wreckage of a crash from Saragossa, Spain. The...Image via WikipediaGrannymar has an excellent post on Road safety and deaths over on her blog. Her posts and the comments reminding me of an incident that happened back in October 2006. I didn’t blog about it at the time, but i did put it on a forum. I have reproduced my post* below.

Imagine it; you are at home in the middle of the afternoon when an old school friend ring’s you. You are wondering, “What could he want.” You answer:
“Did you hear about Pat?” He asks, I reply, “no, what happened.” “He died in a car crash early this morning. Can you get in touch with Bryan and Peter?” he said. “Yea, no bother” I replied in shock.
4:10pm on Thursday 5th of October I had the above conversation. He was heart breaking then to have to contact old friends and give what little information I had.
It was Friday morning before I knew the full details and the fact he had a newborn baby son! Now I am the quite the emotional type, I was surprised I lasted the rosary last night but I dread the Removal tonight. I know when the coffin passes me, I may break down, it’s such finality.
The Government seriously needs to get its act together and give the Road Safety Authority and the Garda Síochána some real powers. Roads also need to be improved and drivers educated at a young age to the dangers of speed.
My thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s family, his parents, grandparents, brother, sisters, fiancee and son, as well as his extended family and friends and all who cared for him in their own way.

When will the Carnage End?

Grannymar makes a few practical suggestions for improvements to how things are done in the south and I think the idea of ‘R’ Licenses is one that should be looked at. As Grannymar points out “At no point that I am aware of, does the Highway Code cover driving a car full of giggling passengers. Does it tell you how the extra weight of passengers in the back seats or a heavy load in the boot can affect how a car moves when brakes are applied or when going around a bend?” Which is very true. She also raises the idea of simulators which can easily be integrated to the theory test in my opinion.

As Steph points out 279 people lost there lives on Irish Roads last year. How many more have to die before there is radical change in how we are thought to drive?

*Full thread on Gaycork.com

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Notes on a Trip to Tralee in a Mazda 626


Its way to hot!

My Nan thinks its a phase

My room will be tidy when i get a woman! hahahaha!

Con O’Connell, Independent Councillor on Cork City Council died last night. May he Rest In Peace. Will this trigger a by-election?

When will people learn how to use indicators!

They should encourage people to live on Canals like in England

These posts are way more personal. Is it good or bad?

Happy Birthday Tim!

Fresh Wexford Strawberries, in Cork???

I’m beginning to hate being single

Kilmicheal, Ambush or massacre?

There needs to be English road signs in the Gaeltacht, it’s crazy!

*Dead Animals: 9
*Caravans and Moterhomes: 13
*Crashes: 1
*Gardaí: 4

Gaeltacht Councils, theres an idea…

1:23pm in Kerry!

Stopped by two trains in Farranfore

Speed Limits are LIMITS not targets

Back in Cork 9:07pm

Nan advised me to stretch my throat! hehehehe

Im just mistook cows for nuns! WTF!!! (I’ve only had three small cans of beer!)

Petrol €1.11 in Tralee, €1.16 in Cork!

9:30pm and its still 19 degrees Celsius!

Love this song!

and this one!

For Feck Sake!

Publicans ‘seeking compensation for random breath-testing’

Rural publicans are reportedly seeking compensation from the Government following the introduction of random breath-testing.

Reports this morning say the Vintners Federation of Ireland is claiming that pubs in rural areas have suffered since gardaí were given the power to conduct random tests in July.

It is reportedly planning to lobby the Government on the proposals, which is already being branded as nonsense.

The AA’s Conor Faughnan says the publicans are effectively saying people should be allowed to drink and drive when they should instead be organising free transport for their customers in an effort to prevent losses.

Source: BreakingNews.ie

God almighty, I’m beginning to hate rural publicans, I hope which ever Judge hears this case will throw it out. They basically want the Gardai to ignore Drink Driving in country roads, where Road conditions are normally worse.

This kinda thing was recently brought up a FG Councillor in Co. Tipp, and we all know the furor that happened over that. The same should happen now!

FG launches tough proposals on drink, drug & dangerous driving – Mitchell

• Mandatory disqualification for dangerous driving
• Mandatory breath testing at accidents
• End the practice of early return for disqualified drivers

Fine Gael will this week publish a road safety Bill to impose harsher measures for dangerous driving and drink driving, and pave the way for the introduction of drug testing of motorists. The Bill will also ensure that injured parties are informed when a disqualified driver seeks to have their licence returned.

“Although random breath testing appears to have had some success in improving safety levels on the roads, much of our existing traffic legislation remains out of date, or is hampered by inadequate penalties. In particular, there is no specific or mandatory penalty for dangerous driving.

“This week Fine Gael is introducing the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill in Private Members’ time in the Dáil. This Bill would provide a mandatory disqualification for dangerous driving, as well as a number of other measures.

“The Bill will:

• Create a mandatory disqualification for dangerous driving;
• Provide for mandatory breath testing of drivers at the scene of road accidents;
• Provide the Transport Minister with the power to regulate for drug testing;
• Index road traffic fines to inflation, to replace the current system whereby fines can only be increased by new legislation.

“The Bill will also ensure that injured parties or relatives are notified when a disqualified motorist seeks an early return of their licence. Under current legislation, a motorist who has been disqualified from driving can apply to have their licence returned half way through the penalty period. The Bill would impose the following restrictions on this mechanism:

• That a disqualified driver can only apply to have their licence returned in exceptional circumstances;
• That there would be an obligation to notify any parties injured by the disqualified motorist’s conduct, or a surviving relative, to inform them that a person is seeking the early return of their licence;
• That injured parties or relatives would be informed of the court’s verdict regarding the application.”

Update

Hey All,

I havent been the best lately at posting so I’ve added a few buttons along the side panel for the Lib Dems and the ACLU. I know im not american, but i think its a great cause and hope to highlight it among american readers of the site!

Click here for the ACLU

Ill shortly be posting up articles ive written for gaywaterford.com and keep your eyes pealed for an artilce writen about a new movement starting in Ireland which i collaborated with my friend Bryan Lynch on.

Also I’ll soon be working on blogs for two General Election Candidates in Cork South Central. Guess the Party!?!?

Finally on a sader note the rising death tolls on Irish roads has taken a Friend who I went to school with. Pat O’Donnell was killed when is car lost control near Ballyvourney.

To Pat.

Though I only know you for a short time, you were always someone could be relied on for a good laugh and a sympathetic ear. You one of the few who treated everyone with fullest of human dignity. Never a harsh word was spoken about you or by you.

You were one of a kind Pat and will be sorely missed.

Almighty Father, eternal God, hear our prayers for Your son Pat whom You have called from this life to Yourself. Grant him light, happiness, and peace. Let him pass in safety through the gates of death, and live forever with all Your saints in the light You promised to Abraham and to all his descendants in faith. Guard him from all harm and on that great day of resurrection and reward raise him up with all Your saints. Pardon his sins and give him eternal life in Your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thats all for now!

Steve

PS Please say a prayer for all those killed on our roads and those who cared for them and mourn them. Thanks

Australian drug driving test should be brought to Ireland – FG

Drink driving is a pet peave of mine. I think it should be outlawed completely. But FG raise an interesting issue in their latest press release- Driving on Drugs.

Senator Fergal Browne has called on Transport Minister Martin Cullen to introduce roadside drug testing technology which is already in use in Australia after a new survey showed that seven out of ten drivers in Ireland are driving under the influence of legal and illegal drugs.

“The new survey from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety shows that 70% of people stopped by Gardaí for erratic driving are on drugs. These include illegal drugs like cannabis as well as prescription drugs like anti-depressants. I am not shocked by the survey’s results which echo earlier studies in Ireland and overseas showing that drug driving is widespread and likely to be a factor in many accidents.

“Given that drug driving involves such a wide range of substances, it is also very difficult to test for such a wide range of drugs, compared to the simplicity of the alcohol test. That is why this issue needs to be highlighted, as many users of legal prescription drugs will not be aware of the dangers. I therefore welcome proposals by the Road Safety Authority to launch a new strategy to deal with this problem.

“However, Australia has begun using new technology to test for cannabis and amphetamines. Using a saliva swab, the technology is accurate enough to identify possible drug users, and to allow them to be brought in for more accurate testing.

“Given that cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs, I would urge the Irish Government to immediately consider importing this technology to Ireland. It should also liaise with the UK authorities which are conducting a pilot test on a broad-ranging drug test for drivers.

“Meanwhile, I would urge the Government to open discussions with medical experts and representative bodies about the issue of driving on prescription drugs, in order to determine which drugs are high risk and whether certain levels are acceptable.

“It’s disturbing to think that drug driving has been revealed as a widespread practice, particularly when drink driving has become so unacceptable. I understand the Irish authorities will be conducting toxicology tests on road fatalities over the next few months which will reveal the role played by drugs in fatal accidents. It will be interesting to see what the reports show.”

Learner driver clampdown ‘meaningless’ without driving test reform – McEntee

10,000 more joined test backlog in 12 months

Fine Gael Road Safety Spokesman Shane McEntee TD has said Government proposals for tough restrictions on learner drivers, although welcome, would be pointless unless the driving test backlog is first cleared.

Deputy McEntee said the Government was unlikely to make any major inroads into the driving test backlog before the next election, with recent figures showing the waiting list increased by 10,000 in the year to May.

“Transport Minister Martin Cullen has got things the wrong way around. Tough new proposals for learner drivers are necessary and long overdue, but there is little or no point cracking down on provisional licence holders until the massive driving test backlog has been cleared.

“Minister Cullen is making the same mistake as his predecessor, Seamus Brennan, who caused the driving test backlog in the first place by announcing a clampdown on provisional licence holders, but didn’t provide any additional resources for the driving test service.

“In May 2005 the Minister promised to slash the waiting time to ten weeks by the end of 2006. But in the following 12 months the waiting list actually increased by more than 12,000, from 124,250 in May 2005 to 134,700 in May 2006.

“The Minister has now revised his target to 12 weeks, but this will be impossible before the end of the year. Even the measures brought in to tackle the backlog will have little impact in the near future. The outsourcing driving tests to the private sector aims to take 40,000 tests off the backlog, but with 140,000 currently waiting for a test it will make little difference. And the measures to increase productivity among State driving testers are still optional. I was made aware last week by a member of the public of a situation where only half of the testers normally supposed to be operating from that centre were present and available for work.

“It is now clear that the driving test backlog will still be in place when the Government goes to the polls next year. Meanwhile, the death toll on the roads continues to climb. The best the Minister can hope for at this stage is that the driving test backlog will remain steady at 140,000, instead of climbing further.”

Report showing appalling road safety record confirms need for road safety audits – McEntee


Responding to a new report showing that Ireland’s roads are among the most dangerous in Europe, Fine Gael Road Safety Spokesman Shane McEntee TD said it proves the need for an annual safety audit of all the roads in the country.

“The RAC Foundation has produced a very disturbing report showing that Ireland ranks alongside Austria as the fourth most dangerous place to drive in Europe. The survey examined the risk of having a fatal accident in the EU, and found that only Greece, Portugal and Spain were more dangerous than Ireland.

“Given the appalling safety record on the roads in Ireland, this survey is unfortunately no surprise. But its findings are still shocking, and they reinforce the argument for a radical re-think of road safety.

“Fine Gael has produced a six step plan to improve driving conditions and driving performance on the roads. If we have better roads and better driving conditions, there will be fewer accidents and fewer deaths on the roads. Although the NRA conducts annual safety audits of all the major roads, this amounts to only 6% of the total road network. Anyone who has driven on the rural roads will know that some of them are in an appalling condition, yet there is no mechanism to ensure that the most dangerous roads are brought up to standard.

“The Fine Gael policy of Six Steps To Safer Roads would set about addressing this problem, at an estimated cost of only €10 million. This is a small price to pay for the hundreds of lives being lost on the roads every year. The plan would:

• Expand the Road Condition Audits to cover all national public roads, footways, kerbs and verges. The results of these audits will be published each year and will set out where the road sits in terms of the standards.
• Double the €3 million budget allocated to local authorities to overhaul and update our road signage around the country to ensure they are more visible and more easily understood by motorists.
• Establish Road Accident Investigation Units to determine the root cause of all major road accidents.
• Conduct an immediate review of our speed limits to eradicate unmarked & illogical limits.
• Establish five Regional Off-Road Training Facilities, initially developed on a pilot basis.
• Launch a new publicity campaign to highlight to all motorists the importance of safe tyres, run by the new Road Safety Authority.

“While all measures to reduce speeding and drink driving should be supported, we cannot lose sight of the other environmental issues. Safer roads, clearer signage, and more information on why accidents happen could all be introduced now, at relatively little cost.”

YOUNG FG PROPOSE EDUCATION AS SOLUTION TO ROAD CARNAGE

44% Of Fatalities are Under 30

Young Fine Gael (YFG) will this weekend discuss long term solutions to the issue of road carnage for young people on Irish roads at their eighth annual Summer School in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry from July 28 – 30, 2006.

Speaking in advance of the Summer School, YFG President, Elizabeth Munnelly stated; “the situation on Irish roads has reached crisis point, the number of deaths continue to rise, 44% of the 231 people who have died this year have been under the age of 30. The number of road deaths has increased since the introduction of penalty points, clearly showing that this measure is failing, due to the under re-sourcing of the Gardaí. YFG are calling for the area of driver education and reform of the driving test to be addressed immediately,” she stated.

Delegates will discuss how best to introduce a comprehensive programme of driver education and an overhaul of the mechanism of driver testing in Ireland with a view to increasing the competency of drivers on Irish roads.

“In order to drive a car in the republic of Ireland, one simply has to answer 36 out of 40 questions in a multiple choice theory test. You are not required to have spent any length of time taking formal instruction before you drive on the open road. All testing is carried out during daylight hours and the handling of roundabouts, multiple lanes, motorways, night time driving or driving in various road conditions are not tested” Munnelly explained. “Ironically you can repeatedly fail your test i.e. be deemed unfit to drive and still continue to drive on Irish roads.”

Proposals can be read here

FG Launches 6 Step Plan for Safer Roads and Safer Driving


Full Audit of Road Surfaces, Overhaul Road Signage & Speed Limits, and Set up Accident Investigation Units in Each Garda Division

Fine Gael has launched a six step plan to improve driving conditions and driving performance on Irish roads. The Party’s Road Safety Spokesman, Shane McEntee TD, said better roads and better driving conditions lead to fewer accidents and fewer deaths on our roads. That is why this first report by the Party on the issue of road safety focuses on road conditions and the driving environment – the Party plans to publish a broader policy document in the autumn on other road safety issues. The proposals in the report today are costed at €10 million or less, but could significantly improve our driving environment.

“Better driving conditions should lead to better driving and fewer accidents on our roads – that is why I have focused in this report on issues such as road conditions, road signage and markings, speed limits and driver training. Much has been said about speeding and drink driving and Fine Gael supports all efforts to address those very serious issues. However, the issue of road conditions and the driving environment is one that I believe has not received enough attention in the debate on road safety.

“That is why in this report today, 6 Steps to Safer Roads, Fine Gael proposes the following measures:

•Expand the Road Condition Audits currently undertaken to cover all national public roads, footways, kerbs and verges. The NRA currently conducts such an audit on a limited basis on National Primary and Secondary Roads and it will now expand its function to all national public roads. These Audits will be carried out on an ongoing basis, with each regional and rural road surveyed once every two years. The results of these audits will be published each year and will set out where the particular road sits in terms of the standards, already set down by the Authority, to ensure an acceptable standard of road safety. The results of these audits will, critically, also inform the speed limits to be set on each particular road. The cost of this measure is estimated at €5 million.

•Double the €3 million budget allocated to local authorities to overhaul and update our road signage around the country to ensure they are more visible and more easily understood by motorists. Each Local Authority, arising from the findings of the Road Safety Audit, would be required to identify poor and deficient signage within its local area and address the problem. Local Authorities would then be required to produce a long-term plan with targets and deadlines on how they intend to enhance and improve road signage within their area.

•Establish Road Accident Investigation Units to determine the root cause of all major road accidents. There would be one dedicated Road Accident Investigation Unit located within each of the six Garda Regions. The Unit will be supervised and commissioned by the Garda Commissioner who will appoint the members of each Unit. Each Unit will consist of Gardaí with specialist training in road accident investigations. The Garda Commissioner will also have the authority, on the advice of the Head of Unit, to bring in outside civilian experts, including those with expertise in accident investigation, road engineering, forensics and other competencies deemed necessary.

•An immediate review of our speed limits to eradicate unmarked & illogical limits. The power to review national speed limits rests with the Minister for Transport and is implemented by the National Roads Authority. The speed limits for all other roads such as regional and rural roads rest with our Local Authorities. Both have the ability to ensure appropriate speed limits are put in place.

•Establish five Regional Off-Road Training Facilities, initially developed on a pilot basis. These would be dedicated centres of excellence where people learning to drive would take driving lessons on an approved off-road site. These Centres would be operated by private sector operators, licensed by the Department of Transport to run such facilities. The Road Safety Centre facilities would be available to all approved driver training schools and their usage would be a compulsory part of the driver training, once mandatory driver lessons for motorbike and car learner drivers are introduced.

•A new publicity campaign to highlight to all motorists the importance of safe tyres, run by the new Road Safety Authority. This campaign will be run in co-operation with the tyre and wider motor industries. The campaign will specifically highlight the importance of replacing worn tyres and explain to motorists how to spot the warning signs of dangerous tyres including:

o Car tyres with tread worn to below 1.6mm;
o A mix of radial and cross ply tyres;
o Over or under-inflated tyres;
o Tyres with cuts, lumps, bulges or tears;
o The wrong sort of tyre fitted to a vehicle or trailer;
o Motorists will be encouraged to check tyre pressure once a week or before undertaking a long journey and to check tyre pressure in early morning.

“These proposals are sensible and practical contributions to a safer driving environment. While all measures to reduce speeding and drink driving should be supported, we should not lose sight of the other issues that we have control over at central and local government levels. Safer roads, clearer signage, more information on why accidents happen – these are all actions that can be taken now, and at relatively little cost. The only reason not to proceed with these proposals is a lack of political will.”