Road Safety Ireland – June 2019, Tom Harrington LL B (Hons) F Inst. MTD

 

This Issue …

The Carnage Increases …

“Operation Meltdown”

“Smelly Tester”

Crooked Politician

Cap on Personal Injury Awards

Extra Money for Walking & Cycling

Defective Tyres – “Ticking Time Bombs”

Cork’s Crumbling Carriageways

“Talking Tyres”

‘Joker’ Knowles Banned for Speeding & Phone Use

Drunk Drone Operators!

‘Joker’ Knowles Banned for Speeding and Phone Use

Drunk Drone Operators

Groundbreaking: Autonomous Tractors

William and Kate’s Convoy Collision

Do AS I Say-Not As I Do …

Ferrari – Work Of Art

In Brief …

 

The Carnage Increases

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have expressed alarm as road deaths here have soared by 20pc this year compared to 2018. Four people died between Friday 31 May and 3 June, bringing to eight the number of people who lost their lives over the past week. The latest deaths followed a horrific two-car collision in Limerick in which three elderly women were killed. A total of 71 people have been killed so far in 2019 – 12 deaths (20pc) higher than for the comparable period last year. RSA CEO Moyagh Murdock urged everyone to take greater care. “We are urging all road users – particularly motorists and drivers of large vehicles – to make sure they slow down, allow a safe passing distance and be safe out there,” she said.

Comment. The carnage continues almost on a daily basis.  Clearly, the RSA should focus more on training and education of young vulnerable drivers? Surely, 12 compulsory one-hour driving lessons with an ADI are totally insufficient for learners to acquire the necessary skills for safe driving. This figure should be more like 35/40 hours. Also, one has to seriously question the wisdom of urging learners to practice with sponsors who only need to possess a full licence for two years? These people are then considered to be ‘experienced’ drivers who can take on the highly difficult and dangerous task of supervising/training totally inexperienced novice drivers. Because that’s what the majority sponsor’s try to do.  It’s high time the RSA changed their tack if they want to reduce road fatalities that cause such misery and heartache to those left behind.  Ms Murdock’s comments about slowing down and taking care are admirable but basically toothless, only consisting of many pious hopes and unenforceable road fatality reduction.

The Carnage Continues … A total of 79 people were killed on Irish roads up to 2 July as opposed to 75 to the same time last year.

 

“Operation Meltdown”

Dozens of ice cream trucks have been seized by authorities in a major crackdown on traffic law violations. A total of 46 trucks were seized as part of “Operation meltdown” in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio said ice cream truck operators had racked up 22,000 summonses and nearly $4.5 million in fines for traffic violations between 2009 and 2017. The operators are believed to have evaded fines by setting up dozens of “shell” companies and systematically re-registering trucks.

Mayor de Blasio added: “No New Yorkers are above the law – especially those who try to ignore public safety laws and create dangerous situations for pedestrians, bikers and drivers”.

 

“Smelly Tester”

Failure to conduct tests in Irish and smelly testers are among the complaints lodged by people who failed their driving test last year. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) received over 1,700 complaints in 2018, according to the Irish Times. One failed applicant in the Midlands said a driving tester “smelt quite intensely” and also complained that the tester was “very intimidating”. One political party claimed the RSA were 140 testers short for testing. Also, they said the waiting time was between 8 weeks and 26 weeks in some centres.

Comment. Yes, over the years we have encountered some testers who were very distant and condescending. Take the case of an elderly and very nervous lady who entered the test office and said: “Good morning, Sir”. Tester’s reply: Sit, were not here to discuss the weather this morning”.

 

Crooked Politician

The crooked Labour politician who lied to police has become the first woman MP to be jailed. Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya 35 was clocked doing 41 mph in a 30 mile zone on the causeway, Thorney, Cambridgeshire. She plotted with her brother Festus 34 to avoid prosecution for the offence by naming Aleks Antipon as the driver of the Nissan Micra. Mr. Antipon the sibling’s former lodger was at home with his parents in Russia – 1,800 miles away. Justice Stuart-Smith told Onasanya that three months was the ‘shortest possible sentence I am able to impose’.

 

Cap on Personal Injury Awards

Caps on awards for personal injury claims and the introduction of perjury laws are among measures to be examined by the country’s law reform body. The areas are among 15 projects to be examined by the Law reform Commission, which is headed by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, over the next three years. The Commission’s Fifth programme of Law Reform, which was published on 5 June 2019.looked at whether caps on damages would be allowed under the Constitution. Last year, the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) found awards for soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, were 4.4 times higher in Ireland than in England and Wales.

 

The project will take into account that the court’s have, in a number of cases in recent years, laid down what have been described as “caps” or “tariffs” on general damages which take account of the injuries suffered by a plaintiff and, in some instances, the level of special damages awarded for loss of earnings and medical costs.

 

Extra Money for Walking & Cycling

The national Transport Authority (NTA) has almost doubled spending on walking and cycling infrastructure over the past year. It is also in the process of establishing a cycling office. The NTA spent more than €21.6m on the provision for walking/cycling infrastructure in 2018. This compares to €11.52m the previous year. The figures are contained in a report published by the Authority on its Sustainable Transport Measure grants scheme. “These are all very exciting projects and I am confident that they will encourage more people to use the bike by making cycling easier and safer,” said NTA CEO Anne Graham. She added: “Since 2011 thanks in part to investments in projects like these, the number of people who use a bike to get to work has increased substantially.”

 

Defective Tyres – “Ticking Time Bombs”

Drivers with defective tyres stand a far greater chance of escaping penalty points than someone using a mobile phone at the wheel. That is essentially the claim made recently following the publication of new research. It shows that while 350,000 cars are estimated to have illegally low tread depths, only 450 drivers – or 13 a month – have been penalized in three years. The penalty point regime for tyres started in May 2016. Now, the latest research by Continental Tyres show only 3,260 tyre penalty notices – including tread depth as well as other defects – have been issued. It is claimed that the safety implications for road users are “concerning” and that tyres need to be treated in a similar manner to the phone-at-the wheel blitz. Cynics will say the analysis is merely being used as a tool to sell more new tyres. But if the figures are to be believed, there is a safety issue at play alongside commercial concerns. Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said his company’s studies show an average of one-in-six cars are being driven with at least on tyre’s tread depth below the minimum legal level of 1.6mm.According to me Dennigan, its findings echo those of many others in the trade who say such cars are like “ticking time bombs”.

 

Cork’s Crumbling Carriageways!

Cork County Council is seeking an urgent meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Minister for Public Expenditure in the hope of getting extra funding to improve the crumbling network of roads. In 2008, the Council got €65m for road maintenance but this had dropped to €36m in 2918 before increasing it to €50m this year.

 

“Talking Tyres”

Even ‘boring’ old tyres are entering the digital space age and are worthy of our wonder. At a recent event by Continental Tyres, the latest prototypes of ContiSense and ContiAdapt were shown. These technologically advanced tyres can be expected on the market within three to five years. ContiSense remotely transmits tyre data including pressure and most importantly, puncture detection. It will become increasingly important especially as we move more and more towards the era of autonomous vehicles. ContiAdapt id truly space age stuff. Why?

Because it uses hydraulic rams and a mini-compressor to vary both rim width and tyre pressure to adapt the wheel perfectly to prevailing conditions. Overall, Continental is claiming 15pc lower rolling resistance and 20pc greater longevity. They also claim significant improvements in handling grip and wet and dry braking.

 

‘Joker’ Knowles Banned for Speeding & Phone Use

TV presenter Nick Knowles has been banned from driving for six months after he was caught speeding while on his phone. The ‘DIY SOS’ host was also fined more than £1,300 at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court. He was driving at 85mph in his Range Rover when he was caught. As he had six points on his licence, the six points added after this offence took him to the 12-point limit required for a ban.

Presiding Justice Andrew Hill told Knowles, that he would insist on enforcing the ban as it would NOT cause him “exceptional hardship”. Knowles then asked: “I can drive home, right?” Mr. Hill replied: “No.” Knowles then told him: “I’m joking.”

 

Drunk Drone Operators!

According to BBC reports, drone owners could land in jail for up to a year if they fly their drone while drunk under new legislation passed by Japan’s parliament recently. It provides for prison sentences and fines of up to 300,000 yen (£2,200) for those caught flying a drone while intoxicated. The country’s transport ministry said operating a drone while drunk is “as serious as drunk driving”.

The new law also introduces fines for pilots who perform dangerous stunts with their drones according

 

Groundbreaking: Autonomous Tractors

Case IH is set to give the latest version of its automated tractor concept a UK debut at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. The autonomous tractor can be operated unmanned and monitored remotely.

It is equipped with a range of technologies that mean that once the tractor is in the field it can work completely independently, eliminating the need for a driver to observe operations. Should the tractor encounter an obstacle it automatically stops, the owner is alerted, and the machine does not restart until camera feeds are checked and a decision is taken. It also offers the potential to automatically adapt to weather conditions.

 

William & Kate’s Convoy Collision

A woman in her 80s is in a serious condition after an accident involving a police motorbike escorting Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate. The couple was on their way to a ceremony in Windsor when a marked police motorcycle in their convoy was involved in a collision with the woman in south-west London. The woman was taken to hospital in a critical condition, Scotland Yard said. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the circumstances of the collision which involved a motorcycle attached to the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command.

 

Do As I Say Not As ……

Thousands of criminal cases are being reviewed after the family of a judge said he had been going to work drunk. A total of 2,707 cases which were heard and which involved prison time of court supervision are now being reviewed under the oversight of the state public defender’s office. Judge Marshall’s family who is seeking control of his personal and financial affairs claim the judge regularly “either failed to appear for work as a common pleas judge or showed up for work under the influence”. According to documents, Judge Marshall had been hospitalized at least three times for alcoholism since 2013 in connection with his alcoholism and was also ordered to attend rehab clinic following a drunken driving conviction.

 

Ferrari – Work of Art

An ionic Ferrari has been recognized an Italian court as a work of art, in an unprecedented judgment that will protect from reproductions and imitations.

The Ferrari 250 GTO is acclaimed as the world’s most valuable classic car, with one example selling at auction last year for $48 million (€42m).Regarded as the Holy Grail of classic cars; just 36 were made between 1962 and 1964. The judgment was handed down by the tribunal in Bologna after Ferrari complained that a company in the northern city of Modena was planning to produce 250 GTO replicas. Ferrari lodged a petition to have the design and intellectual property rights of the classic car officially recognized.

 

In Brief …

 “Tanked Up”

A man was apprehended by police in the Polish town of Pajeczna after he was caught driving – a Soviet tank. Local police said he commandeered a 36-tonne T-55 battle tank armed with 100mm cannon able to hit targets 100 miles away. They explained that the tank seems to have been taken by a mechanic while his workshop repaired the trailer being used to transport it. T-55s have been deployed in numerous armed conflicts since the latter part of the 20th century.

 

No Paint nor Powder …

When you’re among employees assigned to work on the paint of a Rolls Royce, there are additional regulations you need to follow. One of which is that you are not allowed to wear any kind of makeup or even deodorant while working on the car. This is because the company is trying to minimize the risk of contaminating a new car for delivery.

 

High Speed Electric

Volkswagen’s ID.R has lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 6.05.336 minutes. That is quicker than any electric vehicle before it. Romain Dumas beat the previous record set by Peter Dumbreck in 2017 by 40,564 seconds.

 

No Cutting Corners

Lawnmower racers battled it out recently during the Red Bull Cut It lawnmower racing event in Somerset. Participants reached speeds of up to 50mph on modified ride-on lawnmowers as they navigated their way around four separate courses at Chestnut House in Lower Weare, Axbridge. Organizers described the event as a “cross between go-karting and motocross: dirty, fun and fast”.

 

‘Game of Chicken’ Gone Horribly Wrong

A Texas woman is accused of killing her three-year-old son by running him over with her car in a game of chicken. Lexus Stagg (26) is charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of her son on June 11. CCTV shows that as the woman reverse her car, her three young children can be seen running after it. The video then shows Ms. Stagg driving forwards again, as the children try to run away from the vehicle. Two children moved out of the way, but the three-year-old was caught under a wheel, police said.

 

Tesla Model 3

Tesla has opened Irish orders for their Model 3 with prices started from €48,900.First deliveries begin in July. Many Irish drivers have already paid a €1,000 deposit to get priority delivery.

 

And Finally …

Did you know that taxis in Japan have self-opening and closing doors?

 

 

 

 

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