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Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Destruction Left by Motor Accidents—The True Cost!

Most people are clearly horrified by the Carnage on the roads but after the News bulletin has faded or the Paper thrown into the bin the horror subsides and we get on with our lives until the next broadcast, which in the case of the Irish Driving Scene is all too soon! Recent figures show 31 persons killed in Motor Accidents for the Month of MAY 2006.

The age group represented by the highest casualty figure is naturally, but sadly the 16 -30 category with 14 fatalities. Next up is the 30 -40 age group with 5 deaths; the 40 -50 age bracket with just 2 and also unsurprisingly the 50 -60 age group with 4 deaths and the over 60’s with 6. In this latter category 4 out of the 6 were over 70 which indicates a similar vulnerability to the youngest age group. Most of this older age group would have been pedestrians or passengers...

The facts speak for themselves. As a rough guide 33 per cent of all fatalities during May 2006 were in the under twenty five age group …most of these would have been Drivers and some would have been passengers. It is very common for a driver to be killed when involved in a single car accident which involves the driver losing control of the car and leaving the road at high speed and finally either hitting a wall or a tree or plunging into a dyke or ditch.

Losing control of a vehicle because of too high a speed for the road conditions is a common mistake made by very many young and untrained Drivers. If you undertake proper Driver Training at the outset before taking the Driving Test then this occurrence is likely to be very rare indeed.

In many accidents involving inexperienced Drivers, passengers are also killed or seriously injured with long term life changing injuries. The life changing aspects affect not only the injured parties themselves but their families as well.
We have always pleaded with our pupils not to carry other passengers until they have clocked up several years driving after passing their Driving Test and certainly not to be carrying young children especially some one else’s.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to serious injury in a collision as their bodies have not had a chance to grow and build strength as in an Adult .Non wearing of seat belts by children will almost certainly cause death in a serious accident! Yet we still see Parents driving with their children unbelted.

Apart from the human cost and suffering as a result of the aftermath of car accidents there is the hidden cost. Hidden to most people because they are only aware of the mangled bodies but to the Emergency Services and of course the State Coffers it is a very different story and far from hidden!

A spokes person for the Irish Insurance Federation gave some stark and sobering figures when interviewed recently:-
The average cost of a car repair following an accident equates to approximately €2,500.; €30,000 is commonplace in the case of personal injuries incurred and a staggering figure of up to € 4 or € 5 million in the case of deaths as a result of an accident.

The cost to the State of Motor Accidents is reckoned to be in the region of €1Billion per annum. To say that this is unsustainable is to understate the seriousness of the situation.

The introduction of sensible and enforceable Mandatory training for young Drivers and a system of Driving Test Management similar to most other European Countries would go a long way to reducing this carnage.

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