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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Victims' families plead for safe driving and more checkpoints

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

DARREN Price's usual drive to college on an early March morning was to be his last.

In a split second, the first-year engineering student at the Athlone Institute of Technology lay dead, slumped across the wheel of his car.

On that morning in 2006, Darren's life ended when his car was in a collision with a truck at Tyrellspass, Co Westmeath. He was just 18.

Yesterday, his mother Donna joined with gardai, ambulance crews, and the Road Safety Authority to remember the victims of road crashes.

World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims takes place this Sunday.

Some 22,882 people have lost their lives on Irish roads since 1959 when records began.

Donna Price said: "Life as we knew it has ended. His death has had a devastating impact on the family.

"Nothing is the same again, whether it be Christmas or a wedding. Nothing gets better.

"You just have to learn to live with it."

Donna has joined the PARC organisation in campaigning for safer, slower driving and a big reduction in the carnage.

"When you are out in a car you should expect to come across a checkpoint," she said. "I have never been breathalysed."

She highlighted the lack of counselling services for road crash victims and the total inadequacy of the number of specialist hospital beds to treat those with serious injuries.

"The National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire has only 46 beds for the entire country, which is grossly inadequate," she added.

Also present at the launch at St Stephen's Green in Dublin yesterday was Catherine Hastings, whose daughter Emma (17) died in a car crash in Summerhill, Co Meath, in 2002 on Valentine's Day.

If her daughter could speak now, Catherine said she would say: "Be careful who you take a lift from, and don't go unbelted."

Irish Independent

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