UPDATED on 22 April 2006 after Bernard suggested I shouldn't invite legal action by disgruntled drivers. Let's cite the registration numbers of the cars instead of the drivers by name.
DOCTORS Fenton Howell and Declan Bedford have condemned the Irish government for failing to reduce the number of road deaths. Their points are worth considering. First, they believe the Irish government has not curbed alcohol abuse. Although the statistics suggests that nearly 40% of road deaths are alcohol-related, Dr Bedford suggests a bigger trend. He told the delegates at the annual conference of the Irish Medical Organisation in Killarney that 96% of crashes were due to driver behaviour. "We drink and drive. We speed far too much." The Irish government has suggested random breath tests but don't expect those tests outside of pubs. And the results of citations linked to breath tests have yet to be upheld in court.
In a second initiative, Howell and Bedford want more public information about who is responsible for road offenses. Personally, I cannot fathom why accident reports do not cite the probable causes of those accidents. The traveling public would benefit from this kind of information.
In Ireland, many think their cars are designed to go faster, not travel safer. I think this is a selfish perspective. I think kids who live close to country roads deserve to encounter cars traveling less than 100 kph when they jump their garden walls in pursuit of a kicked ball. I do not think there is a national right to travel above 50 kph when outside of a built-up area. I always discover that when driving in the USA on roads without margins, the locals find no compelling reason to travel above 40 mph on roads lacking shoulders.
I don't see why the Irish media does not attempt to name all those caught for speeding, driving under the influence and those who make court appearances for those offenses. Naming and shaming is simple and effective. Simply cite the registration number of the stupid car that was caught speeding, driving dangerously or driving while impaired. Make the registered car responsible for stupid driving.
For those unfortunate enough to share the same name as an accused, for those whose addresses are incorrectly associated with an offender, for those who are incorrectly cited we have to weigh the effectiveness of the concept. Putting the spotlight on things that are wrong is the first step in focusing on things that should be changed. Let me start with 95D44643.
Eithne Donnellan -- "Doctors ciriticise Government for roads death toll" in The Irish Times, April 21, 2006.