Murder on the roads

There have been two more road deaths this weekend, bringing the number this year to eight, or  more than one a month.

Jeremy Deacon at Bermuda Blue  raised this issue earlier this month, pointing out that if there had been six murders (to that date), there would have been a public uproar, yet people accept road deaths as just one of those things. Update: Here’s Jeremy’s latest on this.

Dr Joe Froncioni has made some eminently sensible, research-based recommendations on this which no government has seen fit to take up.

Froncioni is the man who helped to push through mandatory seat belt wearing which has reduced deaths and serious injuries in car collisions (they are almost never “accidents”)dramatically.  No one has done more to make our roads safer than him. No one has received so little recognition either.

His proposals, for roadside sobriety rests, random road checks and zero tolerance for drink driving would go a long way to ending the deaths and crippling injuries. He has also pushed against the hospital and medical establishment to make emergency room physicians record and report when people injured in collisions have been drinking or abusing an illegal substance.

Will these most recent deaths be enough to wake up the powers that be? Let’s hope so.

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6 Responses to Murder on the roads

  1. tryangle says:

    Unfortunately, and this has been going on for decades now, the powers that be pay little more than lip service to the situation. A pre-written statement with the usual verbiage gets recycled by the police and the politicians, then little happens.

    If took several years for seatbelt laws to be implemented, it took years to get cell phones banned (and even then, government botched the legislation in trying to make it encompass other things), it’s just poor.

    Meanwhile, we still have a culture of drinking and driving and a lack of desire to do anything substantial about our poor road use habits. I’d like to hear the Min of Transport or any MP tell us anything they’ve spearheaded in the realm of road safety over the past ten years.

  2. Indy says:

    Interestingly, the one action taken in the last ten years was banning cell phones and the statistical evidence for the danger of cell phones while driving is not very convincing … roadside sobriety checks would make an enormous difference and I don’t think they would be see much opposition ( the taxi drivers would love it!)

    • tryangle says:

      Thing about the cell phones in the Bermuda context is that we seldom know if those are a factor in serious collisions – we’re given “speed” but not much else. They don’t tell us if distraction of driver, road conditions, lighting, vehicle failure, played a role, and that’s unfortunate. Whenever a car smashes into a wall or rolls over the Burnaby St. pillar, the cause is always given the label “Accident”.

      Sobriety checks just make too much sense. Are TPTB that afraid of being unpopular with the drink driver crowd?

  3. Indy says:

    Froncioni rightly says you should never use the term accident as crashes almost never are. There is always a cause, whether it is inattention or cruising along with five black and cokes in you before that wall jumps out at you.
    He also says that talking on a cell phone, whether handheld or otherwise is as distracting as talking to a passenger in the seat next to you – and that’s unlikely to get banned.
    The trouble is all of this is counter-intuitive. Talking on your phone while driving must be dangerous, right?
    Now texting and driving is crazy, but that’s a different story.
    Part of the problem may be that a proportion of TPTB are drink drivers … but I don’t really know what the unwillingness is. Maybe sobriety checks really are just too sensible and we don’t pass those kinds of laws.

    • tryangle says:

      I think that was part of the argument against the cell phone ban in the first place – that it was little different than talking to a passenger, or drinking a coffee, or smoking a cigarette.

      But the epidemic here was to the point that people were texting away like no big deal while driving *or* riding, which really is just too insane. So it had to be done, blanket ban on cell phone use.

      I tend to agree with you and Dr Froncioni on what is an ‘accident’. Very few of the collisions today are genuine accidents.

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