Saturday 18 November 2017

Road habits have changed utterly

New laws brought in just two years ago have had a dramatic impact, and fatalities are now at an all-time low, says Jim Cusack

In the early hours of last Sunday morning 63-year-old Michael O'Callaghan was knocked down as he walked home from an evening socialising in Elphin, Co Roscommon. He had attended the All-Ireland under-21 football match between Roscommon and Dublin on Saturday evening at Breffni Park in Cavan. Mr O'Callaghan, a former school teacher who later became a publican and then a financial consultant, was married with five grown children. He lived only a few hundred yards outside Elphin where he and his family were well known.

Mr O'Callaghan was struck by a car not far from his home. Gardai say the driver of the car, a local man who is a non-drinker, was blameless and was deeply shocked.

The majority of deaths, more than 70 per cent, are still on rural roads but the 'traditional' fatal road accident where a drunk driver kills him or herself and others after a night in the pub is a greatly declining phenomenon. In fact, gardai are noticing a slight rise in accidents where pedestrians walking home from pubs in country towns are victims of accidents, as apparently happened in the case of Mr O'Callaghan in Elphin.

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