What you can do to make a happier and safer season
This is the time when families want to feel happy and safe. However, for some it will be a sad day as they sit down to Christmas dinner with a vacant chair. Our Road Safety Authority expert this week appeals to us all to keep that nightmare from our families by being extremely careful in everything we do on the road. Have a happy and safe Christmas.
THREE people are dying and eight more are seriously injured every week in Ireland.
It is hard to put down in words the amount of pain and suffering caused by road crashes every year.
It has been said that for every life lost on our roads more than 100 relatives and friends of the victim are affected.
This means that in 2013 more than 17,000 people suffered the trauma of losing a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin or friend as a result of a crash.
The true-life TV ads featuring testimonials from those who tragically find themselves among this group are currently on air. Listening to these people we get a snapshot of the carnage taking place on a daily basis.
We hear first-hand from the victims of road crashes, the surgeons who rebuild broken bodies, and the heartbroken families of the dead. One thing stands out. The pain of losing a loved one never goes away.
The main reasons behind these deaths and injuries remain the same. It is still inappropriate or excessive speed, drink driving, drug driving, fatigue, not-wearing seat-belts and careless inattention.
For the first time since 2006 Ireland will record a rise in road deaths this year. Granted, this is against a background of record lows. But I don't think this will be much comfort to the 177 grieving families who have lost someone on the road this year.
Despite recent progress, an unacceptable number of people have been killed and injured on our roads this year.
As a society we need to re-focus and re-double our efforts to reverse this trend and reduce the carnage.
Achieving this aim requires the continued effort of the gardai to enforce road traffic laws, the National Roads Authority and local authorities to continue making roads safer and the Road Safety Authority to train, educate and change peoples' attitudes and behaviour on the roads.
It also requires a commitment from all road users -- that is you and me -- to be more aware of their personal responsibility to avoid road traffic crashes. If responsibility for the Government's Road Safety Strategy rests with Government and public agencies only, it will fail.
Reversing the rise in road deaths and serious injuries depends critically on the support and action of each and every individual. And it starts now.
Recently, the Road Safety Authority acknowledged the work of individuals in the community who have worked selflessly and tirelessly on a voluntary basis to make their community a safer place.
These 'Leading Lights in Road Safety' were not prepared to accept as a fact of life the avoidable numbers of road deaths and serious injuries. No, they decided to tackle the problem head-on themselves.
Their determination to take action probably saved the life of a neighbour, friend or family member in their local community. We should follow their example.
Drive safely this Christmas.