'Selfish drivers are making graveyards out of our roads': Independent.ie readers relive their worst experiences on Irish roads
In response to Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham's comment piece last week, dozens of Independent.ie and Irish Independent readers shared their thoughts on bringing down the number of tragic deaths on Irish roads this year.
Not since we started this Wednesday supplement has there been a response like the one this past week to a comment on road deaths. I asked if all the talk about road safety was falling on deaf ears; if we are only paying lip service; if people are wasting their time highlighting the dangers.
Here is a tiny, edited sample of what people said. Many, many comments could not be used because I felt they were too personal and raw to be publicised.
It has been a truly sad week with people telling their stories. It has also been uplifting to see so many really caring and wishing to highlight what they see as some of the causes.
I read your article with interest. As it happens, I spent considerable time in my local Garda station yesterday filing a statement and presenting my dash-cam video.
Having witnessed idiotic driving with scant regard for no-one but themselves, I took it upon myself and my conscience to take my evidence to the Garda.
Drivers can help the overstretched and under-funded law enforcement greatly by reporting careless driving.
We don't have to put up with this ongoing carnage. Each and every one of us has an obligation to protect and uphold the laws for everyone else.
I agree that pleas for safer driving are being ignored. All the TV ads highlighting the effects of road deaths, while compelling and laudable, are essentially a waste of time.
The only thing which can influence people is their pockets. The punishment should fit the crime. Anyone found drink driving or without insurance should have the vehicle immediately confiscated and auctioned off by the state. There should be speed cameras initially on every major road spaced approx every 10 miles. Fines for speeding should be higher.
Essentially all measures which would increase road safety rely on implementation of law by politicians. Herein is the Achilles heel. Our lawmakers have no political will do any of this. The preventable funerals will continue.
I am 41-year-old man and I've been a victim of several car crashes. It meant a lot to read your honest article. I am sick to death of the total disregard drivers have for others. (As a result of my accidents) I have suffered headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain to name just a few. None of the accidents, which included being turned over and a head-on collision, was my fault, yet everyday I feel the victim.
Unless people see physical wounds they say 'you're grand'. I have no confidence behind the wheel any more.
I feel maybe I'm ready to go back to work but things scare me; the rise in road deaths terrifies me.
Driving bans are effective but I believe 30-day bans would make it easier for judges to hand down swift effective results without completely ruining a driver's life. It would be a tough-love approach without being draconian.
Tears are running down my face as I finish this to you. You're a good man for writing this article because you have helped just a little today.
I travel on the roads day and night; Every five minutes I meet a car or SUV with defective lights. It's frightening and dangerous.
The biggest problem is the lack of check points on roads. I never met one during the month of December in all my travels.
Mobile phones are another big, big problem. More Garda presence and warnings might be a big deterrent.
I am well aware of the impact road deaths have on families having lost a brother in 2002.
I believe the main cause of deaths and injuries is due to a combination of mobile phone use, speed and lack of awareness. It's getting to be routine now meeting drivers with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on phone with the hand up to the ear.
Delivery drivers, farmers on tractors and private cars are all guilty. Of course the likelihood of being caught is less than 2pc, I think.
One item you don't mention as a factor is the use of mobile phones. As a regular cyclist, I've watched the usual phone calls and more and more messaging, but now people are watching videos, reading news, Facebook (all of these are items I've seen in person over the year).
Thank you for writing the article on 'Road Deaths'. Some people voice their concern but generally it appears to be tolerated rather like alcohol abuse is. There is no sense of outrage, of concern to confront 'the killings' on our roads and the appalling injuries suffered by those who survive.
Unbelievably learners are still driving on their own on motorways. How many more people need to die before 'the killing epidemic' on our roads is confronted?
If this issue about road safety/drink-driving had tax implications, legislation would be drawn up immediately. But because we have such lame ministers nothing gets done and the deaths will rise this year.
Your article clearly shows the frustration felt by all involved in promoting safer driving. It got me thinking about the tracker devices fitted in a lot of company vehicles that record speed and erratic driving. A lot of insurance companies also fit them in vehicles belonging to some of their higher risk customers.
And then I read your piece on the Intelligent Speed Assistance you tested in the Ford S-Max, and there is the answer. Remove the responsibility of driving at the correct speed from the drivers and force them to drive safely.
Careless, selfish people are making graveyards of our roads. They should be hunted down and never let near a car again.
I want to compliment you on introducing the debate on driving.
We have surpassed ourselves in recklessness with today's more expensive models. We are less courteous.
Check out the impatience when you drive slowly or within the speed limit. We are all in this together both in solving and making our roads safer.
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