Sunday 21 December 2014

Car advert turns out to be chilling warning to drivers

Brian McDonald

Published 30/05/2014 | 02:30

Hundreds of young men seeking to buy a high-spec second-hand car in racing blue got more than they bargained for when they contacted the seller.

A total of 5,292 young Irish drivers viewed the car, a 2003 Subaru WRX Impreza, which was on sale for €3,000 on the DoneDeal website.

Hundreds, including a number of females, made contact with the seller, John Murphy, on the mobile phone number displayed with the ad.

But the callers were put straight through to a shocking message on voicemail.

"John here. Sorry I can't answer the call. If you're calling about the car, yes I still have it for sale. I've had it about six months.

"It's quick, so quick I didn't even see her. By the time I did, it was too late. She was only six years old for God's sake. Make me an offer and take it away. I can't stand looking at it anymore. Just don't drive it like I did.

"Brought to you by Mayo County Council as part of a road safety campaign."

But despite hearing the message which was recorded by an actor, a total of 167 callers left messages with their contact details in the hope that they could still purchase the car.

One potential buyer is overheard saying "he didn't crash the car – he just hit a girl".

The ad was prepared in a bid to reach young drivers with a grim safety message ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Research by the Road Safety Authority has found that 17-24- year-old drivers are five times more likely to be killed on Irish roads than any other driver.

The original message ran for a week and was replaced on the final day by a straightforward road safety message.

Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons said: "A certain kind of person buys a car like 'John'. If it at least gets them thinking about what the effect of their driving could be, not only on their own lives but also others in the community, we've made a difference.

"If it makes one person think twice about speeding, if it makes one young driver think twice about doing tricks like 'doughnuts' or one person think twice about driving while using a handheld mobile phone and saves a life, then it's a good thing," Mr Gibbons said.

Marketing manager at DoneDeal, Agnes Swaby, said that by using the site to communicate directly with thousands of young drivers, Mayo County Council had taken a very innovative approach to driving its road safety message home.

Irish Independent

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