Friday 22 November 2019

Needless deaths on our roads must end

IT CAN happen at any hour of the day or night and on good roads just as well as bad ones. And it happens pretty well every day.

Last year, Ireland recorded the lowest rate of people dying in road accidents since records began. But with 2013 not two months old, 30 people have died on our roads, giving us a rate which is twice what it was at this stage last year.

Losing one's life simply while trying to go from point A to point B is a particularly unnecessary way to die. It leaves grieving loved ones struggling to bear a loss for the rest of their lives. Most galling of all is experience teaches us that these deaths can be avoided.

But it requires continuous effort and persistent concentration. It is often just about slowing down a little to give oneself the chance to react to the unexpected. It is about always wearing a safety belt and keeping that motor vehicle in reasonable repair.

The economic recession and two very bad winters have taken a heavy toll on many road surfaces. All drivers have to take even more care as a result.

Most of us know these arguments off by heart. We have heard them time out of number and much of the time we try to stick by them.

But the point that too many of us miss is that we need to do these things always and everywhere. We have to make them a central part of our road safety routine.

The authorities and especially the Road Safety Authority have done good work in recent times. It is up to road users to respond to their best efforts.

There are also immediate economic costs regarding traffic tragedies. There is the loss of productivity, the extra stresses and demands placed on the emergency and health services and the general costs of damage.

But the biggest cost, and the one that really counts when all is said and done, is the human loss – the heartbreak for husbands and wives, parents, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and friends.

It is about human life being extinguished and which cannot be replaced. All human beings are equally precious and nobody should die simply because they are travelling the road.

Let's keep it uppermost in our minds that a horrific road accident might be literally just around the next corner from us. For everyone's sake, let us be careful out there on the roads.

Irish Independent

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