Update, March 27th 2007

I haven’t updated this blog in about 10 days. In that time, quite a bit has happened.

Clearly the biggest thing to happen was the shocking carnage on the roads in Donegal over St Patrick’s Weekend. In the past, I have not been slow to talk about issues of Road Safety. This time it’s been different. It really has taken me this long to gather my thoughts on the issue.

What happened last weekend has shown, beyond any belief, how serious the problem is in Donegal. Five people died on our roads. Most notably for me was the death, in a hit-and-run, of Laura Hegarty. I didn’t know Laura, but I know her family. What I’ve heard about the incident has really shocked me. The Hegarty family have been hit so hard; I ca’t imagine what they must be going through. Events of the last few days (a driver is understood to have come forward to admit driving the car) may have brought some closure, but the Hegarty family have been robbed of a daughter and sister and there is nothing that can change that.

There were more deaths on the roads in Donegal this weekend. Travelling back from Galway on Sunday night, I passed the scene of an accident in Co Mayo, and missed a fatal accident near Ballybofey by about twenty minutes. This is despite one of the largest Gardai presences I’ve ever seen on the road.

I don’t know the solution to all of this. Well, I do and I don’t. It all comes back to personal responsibility, making people responsibly for their (our) actions on the roads. Some accidents are destined to happen, but many are caused by behaviour that we may not consider negligent at the time (lifting the phone, shouting at the radio, reaching for something in the Glove compartment, not noticing you’ve slipped a few miles over the speed limit), but all become contributing factors in statistical reports on road deaths.

Donegal gets a lot of coverage as being the worst location in Ireland for Road Deaths. This map puts things into perspective; Donegal is terrible, but so is the rest of the Country.

I don’t know what we can do.

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