Road Safety Ireland – July 2019

Road Safety Ireland – July 2019

 

  • Insurance Fraud
  • Traffic Fume Deaths
  • ‘Guardian-Angel Technology’
  • Tachussi (Goodbye) ‘Beetle’
  • Sound of Silence
  • Road Fatalities Up
  • M50 Toll Dodgers
  • Clampers Profits Up
  • Elderly ‘Happiest Behind the Wheel
  • Non-Compliance on PPs
  • 1st Biomethane Filling station
  • The Carnage Continues …
  • “Passing-Off” & “Shamborginis”
  • Hands-free Calls

 

         Tom Harrington LL B (Hons.) F Inst. MTD

 

Insurance Fraud

A

judge has said some solicitors should be more selective about who they accept as clients as she dismissed five fraudulent personal injury claims for up to €300,000 in Dublin Circuit Civil Court. Judge Jacqueline Linnane said such cases would not proceed to court unless solicitors agreed to act in them and that she felt the Law Society might be concerned about the matter. The judge’s comments came as she threw out claims by five London based members of the Travelling community, who alleged they were involved in a car accident while on a sight-seeing trip to Dublin. They each sought up to €60,000 for whiplash injuries they claimed to have suffered in a collision near Sutton Road, Howth, in May 2015. Insurance company RSA Ireland said the accident was part of a sustained pattern of organized insurance fraud. Judge Linnane directed that all evidence gathered by the insurance firm be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). She also suggested RSA insurance should consider contacting the Law Society.

 

Traffic Fume Deaths

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said the number of premature deaths caused by nitrogen dioxide pollution in Ireland is likely to be higher than previously thought. Recently, the EPA reported that EU limits were breached in 2017 in large cities like Dublin where traffic is heavy. The EU Environmental Agency (EEA) estimates the number of premature deaths from air pollution each year based on data gathered by national agencies. The most recent estimate was that NO2 pollution caused 30 premature deaths in Ireland in 2015, while particulate matter pollution caused by traffic and solid-fuel burning caused 1,100 deaths. The EPA found that the 40mcg/m3 limit was breached along many of Dublin’s main thoroughfares including O’Connell Street, the Quays and the M50.

 

‘Guardian- Angel Technology’

Soon your car will respond not just to your instructions but to your mood. Setting in the car – such as light, air con and music – will change in response to your facial expressions so that stress levels, in particular, are reduced. It is part of the benefit of new artificial intelligence (AI) technology being developed to better understand and address your mood as a driver – and a passenger. Research has found that 74pc of people feel stressed or “overwhelmed” every day, whether at the wheel or in the office.

Now, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) – among others – is developing a mood-detection system to help alert you and to help reduce those levels as quickly as possible while you drive. It works like this: a driver- facing camera and biometric sensors monitor and evaluate your facial mood at any given time. Depending on what it detects, the technology can adapt the heating, ventilation, air con, radio, ambient lighting and other factors to improve your disposition. JLRs chief medical officer said: “Thanks to advances in research around personal well-being over the last 10 or 15 years, car makers can strive with great success to keep drivers engaged and alert behind the wheel in all driving scenarios”

Tachussi (Goodbye)‘Beetle’

German car giant Volkswagen launched the final edition of its iconic ‘Beetle’ from its Pueblo factory in Mexico on the 11 July 2019 at a ceremony accompanied by a Mariachi band. The ‘beetle’ sold nearly 23 million units over 80 years, but by 2017, sales had ground to a trickle and plans were announced to discontinue the car. The ‘beetle’ was no longer in sync with the times. The vehicle’s history goes back to the Nazi era, having first being developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Hitler; who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk or ‘The Peoples Car Company.’ After the war the Allied countries made Volkswagen a priority in an effort to revive the German auto industry. The final limited, 65-unit run of the ‘Beetle Final Edition’ will be sold in Mexico on the internet for a base price of $21,000, and can be reserved with a $1,000 payment. Each can includes a commemorative plaque on its left side, numbered from one to 65. It is available in metallic blue, black, white and beige. The bug-shaped compact car rolled off the production line to rapturous applause, the last iteration of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s in Germany and in 1954 in Pueblo, Central Mexico.

 

Sound of Silence

Electric cars and hybrids can be so quiet that other road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, are not aware of them and risk a collision. From Monday 8 July 2019, all new electric vehicles have to have a noise-emitting device to let other road users know they are around. The EU rule comes amid fears for safety of other road users. The compulsory acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) has to be activated when a car/van reverses or is travelling under 19kmh. Drivers can deactivate the system if deemed necessary. However, what of cyclists and pedestrians who wouldn’t hear a steamroller coming because they are plugged in via headphones, to a different world. (Perhaps our road safety people will highlight this issue a.s.a.p. Ed.)

 

Road Fatalities Up

A major Garda road safety crackdown has dramatically reduced fatalities after 2019 threatened to deliver a 20pc-plus increase in traffic fatalities. Road deaths are now just 2.5pc above the level for the comparable period last year – 81 compared to 79 fatalities for January – July 2018. That represents a remarkable turnaround as by the end of May the total was already 20pc above comparable fatality figures for 2018. A grim June Bank Holiday weekend where eight people died in various accidents over a single week significantly contributed to the overall toll. By June 5, 71 people had died this year – 20pc or 12 deaths higher than for the same period in 2018. Over the past six weeks, Gardai, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and safety groups have focused on emphasizing the safe driving message – and cracking down on both speeding and drink-driving. Of the 81 fatalities recorded this year, 45 have involved drivers, 14 involved pedestrians, 10 were passengers and six each were cyclists and motorcyclists.

 

M50 Toll Dodgers

Twenty motorists accused of dodging M50 tolls were hit with fines totaling €212,000 after they failed to turn up in court. The penalties ranging from €6,000 to €14,000 were imposed by a judge during a single sitting of Dublin District Court where cases went ahead in their absence after they were sent 1,000 warning letters. The court heard one motorist was accused of not paying tolls for more than 600 trips on Ireland’s busiest motorway and he was allegedly sent almost 2,000 letters seeking payment. The court also heard the motorway authority only selected “habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings, but no one have been jailed so far.

 

Clampers Profits Up

The group that owns the clamping firm contracted to carry out clamping and parking enforcement in Dublin city recorded a 23pc increase in pre-tax profits to €1.75m in 2017. Tazbell Services Group is the owner of Dublin Street parking Services (DSPS) which operated the clamping contract for Dublin City Council. DSPS has operated the clamping contract since 2004. Each year DSPS tickets, clamps, relocate and stores in the region of 60,000 vehicles in the capital. In the year under review – 2017 – a total of 55,977 vehicles were clamped in the city council area. This works out at just over 150 per day. New accounts for Taxbell Services Group show the overall business enjoyed the increase in profits in spite of revenues declining marginally from €17,99m to €17.8m in the 12 months to the end of December 2017.

 

Elderly – ‘Happiest Behind The Wheel’

Elderly people are happiest when they are literally in the driver’s seat, a new study on ageing from Trinity College reveals. According to the latest research from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) , older adults prefer to drive themselves or be driven by a partner or spouse  rather than being chauffeured  around by other family, friends or taxis. The study found that older people who still drive have better mental health, have higher levels of social participation and social networks than those who have others do the driving for them. The study also revealed that men over the age of 50 are more likely to continue driving as the age compared with their female counterparts. It was also found that older men who had stopped driving and relied on public transport reported higher levels of loneliness than women who had stopped driving.

 

Non-Compliance on PPs

Figures from the courts service show that Kerry has the highest number of convicted drivers failing to hand in their licence to court. The figures also revealed that from January 2017 to May 2019, just 13pc of drivers in Kerry convicted of speeding handed in their licence to have the penalty points recorded. This figure compares to 17pc in Kildare, 68pc in Wexford and 80pc in Wicklow. Road safety group PARC fears that thousands who fail to hand in their licences may be ‘repeat offenders’ (recidivist) and are ‘back on our roads’. Drivers caught speeding initially gets a notice to pay a fine within a prescribed period. If they fail to comply, they then receive a summons and if convicted, face a fine and up to five penalty points on their licence. Asked why so many Kerry drivers are not complying, Mr. John Galvin Chairman of the Kerry Law Society said: “Any prudent solicitor would tell their client to bring their licence to court”. He added: “Were not into hand-holding. Responsibility lies with the person themselves.”

 

1st Biomethane Filling Station

A new permanent biogas filling station has been opened in Bristol to fuel busses on the city’s m1 metro bus route located at the Bristol Community Transport (BCT) depot in Bedminster. The filling station represents a £960,000 investment by the route’s operator First West of England with support from the Low Emission Bus Fund run by OLEV. The biogas that fuels the busses is provided by the Bus Gas Alliance and comes from waste food and is supplied from anaerobic digesters across the UK. 

 

The Carnage Continues …

There were 89 road deaths up to end July 2019 compared to 83 to the same time in 2018 – an increase of six

 

“Passing –off ” & “Shamborghinis”

An illegal factory producing fake Ferraris and sham Lamborghinis has been shut down by police. The father and son owners of the workshop were arrested following the raid and have been charged with industrial property offences. According to police, in the Brazilian state of Santa Catharina, the pair was advertising the fake cars for sale on-line for $45,000 to $60,000. The authorities took action following a complaint from the Italian company over their branding and badges. A number of partially-completed cars were seized pending the pair’s trial.

Comment. When it comes to the economic tort of “passing off”, there is an accepted 3-part test which the plaintiff – in this case Ferrari – needs to pass in order to win an intellectual property case involving “passing off”. (1) Goodwill or reputation in a product. (2) Misrepresentation by someone which may lead to confusion between one product and another in the minds of the public. (3) Damage to the goodwill or reputation as a consequence of the representation. This test was approved by the Supreme Court in McCambridge Ltd v Joseph Brennan Bakeries (Irl) and prior to this in Jacob Fruitfield v United Biscuits (UK) Ltd.

 

Hands-free Calls

Research has found that even when you hang up on a hands-free phone call, an element of distraction can remain for up to five minutes. But safety experts say safe places to stop and take a call do not include the hard shoulder of a motorway. Road safety and breakdown organization GEM Motoring Assist says all drivers should wait until they are safely parked with the engine off and the handbrake on. Allowing yourself to be distracted while driving – for example by a phone conversation – puts you and those around you at higher risk. Research has shown that drivers using hands-free phones fail to notice hazards, even those directly in front of them. They may stop using their mirrors and indicators as they try to reduce their mental workload. And they also need more space to stop. Research also found a driver’s mental distraction associated being on the phone can last up to five minutes after the call has ended. 

 

In Brief …

 

No Love Lost There

It appears the Gardai are not immune to the power of Love Island. After they pulled over a truck driver who was on the phone they posted a photo on Twitter. The Gardai said that we decided to stay true to ourselves and couple him up with an FCPN.

 

Money for Old Rope?

On a highway in Atlanta, drivers abandoned cars to collect $100 bills as an armoured truck’s door flew open. Videos emerged showing cash strewn across the highway as passengers also abandoned the cars to try and gather as much money as they could. The incident occurred in the Ashford, Dunwoody road with more than 15 cars stopping. The Dunwoody police said the drivers were taking the money that escaped from the GardaWorld truck.

Note. This money should be returned to GardaWorld as it is illegal to retain it as it still belongs to the company.

 

Young Drivers

Four children aged 10 to 14 packed fishing rods in a parent’s car, left a farewell note and then drove more than 600 miles down the Australian east coast before they were stopped next day. Acting police Inspector Darren Williams said the children were stopped by police in New South Wales, who then locked the doors and refused to get out. He said a police officer used a baton to break a window of a Nissan patrol which had been reported stolen.

 

Happy Clampers!

Over 24,000 vehicles have been clamped in Irish Rail car parks over a 3-year period, figures released by the company revealed. The data covers 75 stations across the country over a period from 2016 up to and including February 24 of this year, and shows a total of 24,241 clamping incidents in that time. Commuters on the Dublin to Cork line appeared to suffer more than most. Heuston Station in the capital and Kent station in Cork are the top black spots in the country, and make up more than a quarter of all clampings.

 

Volvo Recall

Volvo is recalling 6,000 Irish cars over a faulty part that can cause the engine to catch fire. The company is pulling back more than half a million cars from around the world over the issue with a plastic engine intake that can melt and deform.

Lotus Blossoms

British carmaker Lotus has unveiled its first all-new car in 11 years – an all-electric supercar, the Evija. The 1972-horsepower coupe will be the first developed under Lotus’s parent company owned by billionaire Li Shu Fu’s Zhejinag Geely Holding Group Co., which also controls Volvo car group and will be the halo for the rest of the Lotus range that includes the Elise, Exige and Evora. The Evija boasts a one-piece carbon fiber monocoque chassis, a low ride height of just 105mm and an electric power train developed by Williams Advanced Engineering of Formula One fame. The Evija will reach 62mph in just under three seconds and a top speed of 200mph. The total driving range will be 250 miles on a full charge. It will take 12 minutes to charge up to 80pc and 18 minutes to get a full charge.

 

Passenger Didn’t Count

A man driving a hearse in a carpool lane was rapped after being told his dead passenger didn’t count. Nevada Highway patrol trooper Travis Smaka who pulled him over told CNN News: “The driver informed me that he had someone who was deceased in the back of the vehicle”. The driver was left off with a warning after he asked: “So, he doesn’t count in the back? The trooper said: “It just threw me off. That was one of the unusual responses I’ve gotten”.

 

And Finally …

“I failed my theory test because I didn’t know what colour amber was.”

 

 

 

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