Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Road deaths lowest on record - despite the RSA and the Government

It’s been said before on this blog - road deaths have been in steady decline for many years now, despite the hysteria generated by the likes of Gay Byrne, Noel Brett and the Road Safety Authority. If you took them seriously you would imagine our public highways are like something from Grand Theft Auto. But I suppose all quangos have to talk things up to bolster their own perceived importance.

Only 205 people have died on Irish roads this year to date - 45 fewer than last year. It is predicted that less than 250 people will lose their lives on Irish roads by the end of the year – the lowest since records began in 1959.

Now, can someone tell me what is driving the Gay Byrne/RSA/tender company demand for speed cameras? Would it, I wonder, be a desire to hit the motorist with yet another form of taxation, and the Government and the operators with yet another form of revenue?

What, anyhow, is behind the decline in road deaths? Is it:

a) The coppers, zapping us on dual carriageways and motorways?

b) The television ad playing “do it do me one more time” while showing someone’s head being smashed open like an eggshell… over and over again… in slow motion?

c) The coppers, zapping us on good roads with inappropriately low speed limits?

d) The television ad that shows that bloke with runny mascara somersaulting his car several times before landing on little Oisin on his swing, flattening him to a pulp?

e) The coppers, zapping us from their sneaky vans with the blacked-out windows, just before the “80" sign when leaving a town?

f) The television ad showing a spotty teenager overtaking on a blind bend, losing control of his car when a dog (left to roam freely by its owner) wanders out in front of him, causing it to slew across the road, pinning an innocent bystander against a wall and removing her legs in the goriest fashion possible?

g) None of these.

I would go for “g”.

While there are no comprehensive figures available with regard to road death causes, because the authorities can't be arsed compiling them, it is known (thanks to EU studies) that some roads are more dangerous than others. Dual carriageways and motorways are the safest, and in recent years the proportion of such roads in the Irish network has increased – despite protests and opposition by some groupings.

It’s also fair to assume that the old culture of driving to the pub in the "back of beyant", getting hammered, staggering back out the car, and somehow driving home with the help of a few Hail Marys is now frowned upon – unless you are a Fianna Fail backbencher, of course, in which case you believe you actually drive better when you're pissed.

Finally, manufacturers are making cars safer – despite the Irish Government continuing to (VRT) tax life-saving technologies such as Electronic Stability Control, which has been shown to reduce road deaths by 40%. Despite the Government, more and more cars on Irish roads have this feature, largely because the EU aims to make it mandatory by 2011.

Another case of us being saved from our own elected imcompetents by our membership of the EU.

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Anonymous said...

For the not-too-drunk, I think the fear of being stopped for a breathalyser also supports roadsafety in Ireland.

The Gombeen Man said...

Most normal people would agree, Anon. Except for FF backbenchers of course, but they don't fit into that category.

Bernd said...

Maybe it would also help the stats if we could take suicides out of the "road deaths" - I can't help but wondering how many single car accidents are actually self-induced. In many of them there simply is no explanation ...

Anonymous said...

The RSA puke out their own statistics anyways, to justify their own existence. Unless the figure comes from a foreign study, I wouldn't pay it any notice.

Matthew said...

Was thinking about this today, a big part of it has to be because most of the highest risk drivers, young males, had either left the country or have lost their jobs or at least a huge chunk of pay or hours and cant afford to fund a car, especially recreationally in the months this data covers?