Friday 18 January 2019

Burning a (pot) hole in our pockets; 500 EU deaths a week; petrol power for Aston's SUV

Shortcuts with Eddie...

Bentley Bentayga car is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Bentley Bentayga car is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The man was on his knees as far as I could see.

It looked to me like he was taking a picture of something on the road, but there did not appear to have been an accident. There were no cars stopped with their hazard lights on. Then thud.

My inside front wheel clattered into something.

A hidden, deep, vicious pothole. I stopped; no damage. But I noticed the man running back towards me. He hadn't been as lucky earlier. He produced a picture of the damage to one of his wheels.

Ouch! It looked really bad. He said the car felt all wobbly when he tried to drive it. This was in a posh part of Dublin. They don't take kindly to their Beemers, Mercs and Range Rovers being whacked by potholes.

Trust me, it's a lot worse in other parts of the country. A lot worse. The bad weather seems to have battered some roads to the point of crumble.

My colleague, Paul Melia, reported recently on how badly roads need to be repaired.

I see only one way that will happen: an increase in taxation.

I didn't linger long with the man taking pictures, but it struck me how costly it can be not to have good roads.

I'd say that replacing his battered alloy will set him back a few hundred euro at least.

And God knows what damage is being done to suspensions, tyres and wheels all over the country.

Of course something needs to be done. The question is, are we prepared to pay for it?

What do you think?

* The European Commission's latest report shows how little headway is being made in reducing road deaths.

In its analysis, the European Transport Safety Council puts a figure on that failure. It says 500 people a week are dying on EU roads - 487 a week on average, to be precise. No, it's not a war zone, it's a region reasonably at peace, yet appalling numbers are dying.

It beggars belief when you stop and think of it: 2,000 people a month.

The people trying to reduce the carnage say we need all sorts of things to happen, including "mandatory fitting of automated emergency braking and intelligent speed assistance (as well as) better infrastructure".

That would be just a start in a monumental job to cut death levels.

So would the likes of the Government abolishing taxes on such safety items so the cars with the technology are more affordable.

It is hard to believe that such items are taxed, but they are.

Change has to come from all points of the compass.

Why not start where it can really affect people's buying decisions?

We can't put a price on safety.

* As you may know, Aston Martin is to make its first SUV next year, but it will only be petrol powered, according to reports.

The 5dr SUV, a rival for the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus etc is expected to be called the Varekai.

The thing is, it was initially to have had an electric motor, but the plans seem to have changed and they're going with petrol, for now anyway.

* The PSA Group is creating a new electric vehicle business arm to coincide with the launch of electrified versions of all its cars starting next year.

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