Drink driving is on the menu in the Dail this morning with Shane Ross’s zero tolerance proposals up for scrutiny.
The Road Safety Authority, (RSA), has figures to show that alcohol is a factor in one-third of all fatal accidents. You could conclude therefore that alcohol is not a factor in the majority of fatal accidents. Things like speed, carelessness, fatigue, bad roads, lack of attention, bad drivers and maybe drugs are all potential factors in road deaths. I am sure that you could add other things to that list.
Another point to make is that (fatal) road accidents are supposedly examined carefully by Gardai after the fact. Forensic people comb the crash site, skid marks are measured for length. angles worked out, weather conditions taken into account and the impact zones(s) are photographed and analysed. This may be a leap of faith but you’d have to suppose the Gardai have the statistics from the figures/analysis and could tell us what causes the majority of road accidents in Ireland. This has not happened though and I wonder why?
The legal limit for alcohol is already at an all-time low in this country and still the crashes are happening, which makes no sense at all. Year-on-year there has even been an increase in fatalities. The Gardai must be at their wits end to explain the carnage surely and I think this may have something to do with today’s debate.
Take any fatal road collision and the confusion of emergency people and the forensic teams at the scene. The cause of it is a mystery at this point and many are scratching their heads. Then a Garda pipes up and says, “The driver was over the legal limit,” and that’s that. Speed, carelessness, fatigue, bad roads, lack of attention, bad drivers and even drugs are ignored and never looked for because the job has been made easy for all concerned. Blame can be summarily apportioned without any examination or analysis. It is a case of drunk driving so the case closed.
In another article concerning a collision between an over-the-limit driver and the deceased in the other vehicle I speculated that the authorities were too quick to jump to conclusions. Why should it be automatically assumed that the guy with one pint taken was at fault? The unfortunate who died in the other car could have done something really stupid to cause the accident but that possibility was never even considered. I’m not saying the one-pint-driver wasn’t at fault but he may not have been. Remember, all of the other potential causes of collisions could also have been present at the time. It is lazy and dangerous to decide in advance that if one drink has been taken then it must be the drinker at fault every time. Statistically that cannot be the case because it assumes that with alcohol involved, all other possible causes of accidents must have mysteriously disappeared.
Simply put, they don’t!