Meathwoman's Diary: Are we getting the message on road safety?

Getting the message on road safey

Road deaths and our attitude towards speed and road safety is now a grim, daily conversation.

Despite the RSA's Vision Zero campaign and the efforts to reduce road deaths, that goal seems to get further out of reach with 70 fatalities already this year.

After the RSA's first inaugural road safety youth forum was held on April 29th, efforts are being made to discuss key road safety issues that affect our highest risk group on Irish roads, young people, but the conversation is a bit late to the party as the death toll continues to climb.

Already this year, road users between the ages of 16 and 25 accounted for 30 per cent of road fatalities and remained the highest risk category in 2023 accounting for 26 per cent of fatalities.

Despite young people being the highest risk, it is not a them versus us argument, it's a why and how argument.

Speaking from a young driver’s perspective, and a driver with the 'black box' in my car in exchange for cheaper insurance, impatience is the biggest battle with road users.

The 'black box' will penalise drivers for going over the speed limit and track dangerous driving patterns for inexperienced drivers. It is when I am driving to the speed limit that people decide to show their impatience and drive right up behind me to the point where I can no longer see their reg-plate. All it takes is for a tap on the brakes for things to go seriously wrong.

Road safety is not something that is prioritised in the education system. With young people being the highest risk, should it not be implemented? Road safety programmes are now available for schools which is something I missed out on during my school years.

Tailgating is another issue that Slane driving instructor Andy McGuinniety recently highlighted in this paper: "It's happening way too often. People drive right up behind your bumper, almost willing you to pull in and let them pass. There is a huge impatience now on the roads," he said.

"It's not just behind cars with L plates or my school of motoring car, I've come across this numerous times in my own car."

After being a witness of many near miss accidents where I think to myself "is this car going to make it" as they over take on a blind bend, I ask is it really worth it? According to the RSA, overtaking by 10kmp/h on an 80kmp/h road only saves you 68 seconds.

30 per cent of fatal collisions are a result of speeding with 39 per cent of drivers and passengers killed on 80kmp/h between 2018 and 2021.

The problem starts to become a reality, when it is a person you know that becomes one of those horrendous statistics.

The time saved by speeding is minimal and a waste of time.

So, is it really worth a life?