EDITORIAL: Carnage On The Roads

For anyone who has driven in Ireland this is a familiar picture or memory. You have left the motorway and are driving on a two lane road with hills, dips and bends.

And around the bend comes a car being driven at speed. It is a hedge clipper. This is a vehicle in which the driver is behaving as if he or she is on a multi-lane carriageway.

Overly fast driving is not a phenomenon confined to Ireland. It is to be found in every country. How many times on U.S. roads do moderate and sensible drivers see a flash in the corner of their vision when a car weaves in and out of traffic, sometimes at speeds approaching three digits?

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How many times does the driver cry out, "where are the cops"?

As is typically the case the police do show up. They arrive after the carnage.

There has been carnage on Irish roads in recent weeks.

Here's what the Irish Times had to say.

"The terrible events in Clonmel late on Friday, where four young people died in a car crash, have shocked and saddened the country. That the tragedy happened on the day three of those who died received their Leaving Certificate results made it all the more poignant. Lives which should have been moving on to a new phase were cruelly ended.

"Everyone’s thoughts and sympathies will be with the families and friends of those who died and the wider community in the difficult days ahead. As Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, the nation mourns the loss of Nicole Murphy, Zoey Coffey, Grace McSweeney and her brother Luke, all from the Clonmel area.

"The fatalities in Clonmel follow those of two young women, Kiea McCann and Dlava Mohamed, in another fatal crash in Monaghan at the end of July, on their way to a debs ball. It is important that the community and school supports put in place in Monaghan are again in evidence in Tipperary, but heartbreaking to see them again being needed.

"The wider picture is of a deeply concerning increase in road fatalities, which are running at their highest level in six years. All fatal crashes have their own, particular causes – and we must await details of what happened in Clonmel – but the evidence now clearly shows that the numbers in Ireland are again moving in the wrong direction."

And that they are.

And people have short memories. When it comes to behavior on the highways it is frequently the case that the learning curve is steeper than the next bend in the road is acute.

We can put up all the warning signs about how excessive speed kills but some, too many, will simply not see them. And some who see them will give them short shrift.

Getting a driver's license in Ireland is no easy thing. Most have to take the test more than once. So it can be assumed that once the license is secured there has to be a decent degree of technical ability as the new driver takes to the roads alone.

But then there comes the matter of behavior on the roads. And that, to say the least, is the proverbial crap shoot.