Road Safety Ireland – November 2018

This issue …

  • Costly Driving Test
  • Reduced EDT Lessons
  • Uninsured Drivers – Warning
  • The Carnage Continues …
  • Whiplash Saga
  • Dash Cam – Insurance Discount
  • ‘Virtual Reality Experience’
  • Younger Motorists – Drink-Drive

Road Safety Ireland- November 2018

                                                             Tom Harrington LL B (Hons) F Inst. MTD

Costly Driving Test?

A former United Nations translator tried to bribe a Dublin based driving examiner with €50, maintaining later it was simply a “token of gratitude”. Zhyan Sharif had already failed the test four times and was sitting it again when she offered the examiner the cash as an inducement to pass her. The candidate claimed in court it was common in Islamic culture for women to give “little gifts” to each other, and the money was to thank the examiner for being “so nice”.  Judge Patrick McNamara found her guilty but struck out the case leaving Sharif without a criminal record after she donated €500 to charity.


Reduced EDT Lessons

In early 2019, new regulations will allow drivers from outside Ireland who hold a current valid car license but come from a country that does not have a license exchange agreement with Ireland to apply for a learner permit and complete a reduced EDT programme. Drivers can then apply for an Irish license on completion of the mandatory reduced EDT programme and successfully passing the Irish practical driving test. Drivers having established their eligibility through the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) and who have obtained a learner permit will be required to complete EDT lessons 1, 5, 6, 7.9, and 10 before sitting the practical test.


Uninsured Drivers – Warning!

Gardai will be able to use handheld devices to instantly tell whether a vehicle is insured, as a new “hotlist” of rogue drivers will be rolled out by the end of the year. Officers will scan a number plate to see if a vehicle is insured when they pull over a car on the road. This will be linked to the new database of uninsured drivers. The move is an attempt to clampdown on the rise in the numbers taking to the roads without insurance – and should ultimately lead to a reduction in premiums for law-abiding motorists. Experts say the use of the technology will mean uninsured drivers will have nowhere to hide. It is estimated there are around 150,000 uninsured drivers. Motorists who legally pay their insurance premiums have to fund pay-outs for accidents caused by uninsured or unidentified drivers through the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

The Carnage Continues …

There were 136 road fatalities up to 3 December 2018 as opposed to 156 to the same time in 2017.

Whiplash Saga

Revelations about the size of whiplash payouts have prompted demands from the Government to speed up reforms on the compensation system. Figures from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) show that the average award for a whiplash claim is just short of €20,000.That is around five times higher than the payouts for whiplash claims in Britain. The PIAB study of the amounts it awarded in the first six months of this year found 70pc of all motor claims  relate to whiplash. The awards cover the amounts paid out  for the pain and suffering  resulting from road traffic accidents with a much smaller proportion of the total award made up of special damages, which covers medical costs and loss of earning. PIAB said women tend to get more generous amounts awarded to them than men. Insurance Ireland CEO, Kevin Thompson said what is needed now is a timeline for the Judicial Council Bill which will see judges setting out new “recalibrated” award levels.

Note. It’s just been announced that the Government will hold a referendum to override judges’ discretion in the awarding of compensation claims if they do not drastically reduce whiplash and soft injuries damages in less than two years. Junior Minister Michael D’Arcy, said unless judges recalibrate compensation claims for whiplash injuries downwards, the Government will intervene. However, Mr. D’Arcy admitted that there is a question regarding the constitutionality of the Oireachtas (legislature: its main function is to make laws) overriding judicial discretion by fixing awards in certain civil law matters.

Dash Cams – Insurance Discount

Motorists who are prepared a dash cam in their car will be given a discount on their insurance. The move by Axa Ireland is part of a plan to cut down on fraudulent injury claims. It comes after plans by the Gardai to target uninsured drivers were welcomed by the Road safety Authority (RSA). Axa Ireland is offering motorists discounts of 10pc on their cover if the fit dash cams. The insurer has partnered with camera company Nextbase in the hope the use of technology will make it easier to establish liability in the event of a crash. Nextbase will also match this with a 10pc discount on its dash cams bought in retailers Halfords, DID, Powercity, Expert Electrical, Sam McCauly and other retailers nationwide. Axa said the use of a dashboard camera could protect a customer’s no-claims discount after a non-fault collision. Nextbase dash cams cost between €69.99 and €299.99.There are claims that in-car cameras improve the driving habits of motorists. A study by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in the UK found the 25pc of drivers believes that fitting a dash cam will improve their driving. Some seven out of 10 of those who had an accident have said that the dash cam would have been useful in settling the liability claim.

Note. A leading barrister has warned the proposed roll-out of ‘dashcams’ and, critically, the indefinite storage, could have enormous implications under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The use of cameras needs to be justified to meet data protection rules, with the long-term storage of such data an additional problem. Even though nothing is stored for any great length of time, GDPR is a potential issue.

 ‘Virtual Reality Experience’

Ford Motor Company’s Transport Operations team, which is responsible for the movement of vehicles and parts, has partnered with London Cycling campaign to bring to life a virtual reality experience that allows truck drivers and cyclists to swap places. The company’s ‘WheelSwap’ experience is part of Ford’s ‘Share the Road’ campaign and allows drivers to experience a journey from a cyclist’s perspective and vice versa. In the LGV, the conservation focused on the vision of the driver and situations where a cyclist is and is not visible to the driver, keeping the appropriate 2-metre distance  when passing a cyclist and ensuring LGV drivers do not enter ‘bike boxes’. When cycling, the focus turned to road position, and understanding why cyclists may be riding centrally in the road to avoid potholes, or car doors, particularly on narrow streets. “Having a change of perspectives was very insightful” said Andrew Main, driver trainer at Ford Transport Operations team, and DVSA instructor. “A greater understanding of the reasons behind cyclists’ actions is very helpful for an LGV driver as we decide on their approach to certain situations. Ford and its Transport Operations will be taking these messages into local schools during Road Safety week.

Younger Motorists Drink-Drive

One in eight people has admitted to drink-driving in the past two years – mostly the younger driver.

A survey found that drivers had actually hit the road knowing they were above the legal blood-alcohol limit. AA Car Insurance found just under a quarter of Irish motorists between 17 and 24 have driven while over the legal limit in the past two years at least once , the highest figure of any age group. Meanwhile, those over 65 were the least likely to drink and drive, with 10.41pc admitting to having driven over the limit.

In Brief …

‘Singing Bridge’

For the first time in the UK, drivers will be able to play music outside their cars as new musical strips are being added to the Humber Bridge, Kingston-upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire.

Car-activated rumble strips will play a tune where the 120,000 cars drive over the Grade 1 listed bridge near Hull each week. Although the council is yet to pick the winning melody, the strips could be ready and installed on the crossing over the river Humber by 2022. The UKs musical road is part of a £30 million tourism injection masterplan to turn the landmark with a “much better” attraction than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

France: Fuel Protests

France’s “yellow vest” protesters blocked oil depots and roads across the country for a third day in a revolt against fuel prices that has seen motorists subjected to racist and homophobic attacks and hundreds injured. President Emmanuel Macron showed no sign that he planned to back down over diesel and petrol price rises due in January, which are part of his government’s plans to try and wean the French off fossil fuels.

Chancer’s Claim Thrown Out

A Latvian national described by a judge as a “liar” and a man not to be trusted has lost a €60,000 damages claim for injuries allegedly suffered in a road traffic accident. In evidence in the Circuit Civil Court, the man said he was only involved in one previous accident when it appears he was involved in others. He claimed he was rear-ended at a roundabout in Swords, Co. Dublin. A spokesman for Allianz Insurance said: “Insurance fraud has grown with one in ten road traffic accident claims in Ireland now thought to be spurious or exaggerated”. This year alone Allianz has challenged more than 1,500 courts claims

‘Mea Culpa’ Drivers

A small village of just 120 people has issued over 58,000 drivers with speeding tickets in just 10 days after installing speed cameras.

Temporary cameras were installed in Acquetico, an Italian village on the border with France, after locals complained about speeding vehicles their streets. However, Mayor Alessandro Alessandri told Corriere Della Serra he was stunned to discover how bad the problem was. He said it was “madness” that the speed trap has caught 58,000 cars traveling at up to 84mph in less than two weeks. The temporary cameras will now be installed permanently.

McGregor – Knockout?

UFC fighter Conor McGregor has been banned form driving for six months and fined €1,000 after he was caught speeding.

McGregor was stopped after driving at 154km in a 100km zone on the N7 in Co. Kildare, and failed to pay the fixed penalty due to an administrative error, Naas District Court heard. The martial star apologized in court, saying: “I didn’t know I was going that fast.”

Sign Too Small?

Former All-Ireland winning hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald successfully overturned a speeding conviction in court. Previously he had been fined €400 and a 28-daydriving ban by way of ancillary order after Mr. Fitzgerald failed to show up in court. At the Circuit Court, Judge Gerald keys allowed an appeal after the State was unable to provide written proof in court that it had sent out a fixed penalty notice to Mr. Fitzgerald. Judge Keys said: “The signs that distinguish one area from the other are quite small and not the easiest to observe.”

Speeding Teen?

A teenager who broke the speed limit on his electric scooter has been slapped with penalty points on his future driving license. A court in Cleveland, England gave the 15-year-old six penalty points “which will be added to his driver’s license when he is able to have one”, police said. According to Cleveland police, the boy was “caught by officers riding a scooter at high speeds” and brought to court in October

Picture Perfect!

Police have seized a two-month-old lion beginner after stopping a Lamborghini whose driver was snapping selfies with the animal. The incident took place on the Champs-Elysees district of Paris. The driver was charged with keeping an exotic animal and the Lamborghini was returned to the rental company.

Lethal Weapon?

A Dublin bus driver has told how a cyclist threw his bicycle at his vehicle and then spat in his eye while on a bus run. The cyclist was weaving in and out of traffic in front of the before becoming violent when the bus driver signaled at him to move. The bus driver was advised by his doctor to attend A&E to make sure he had not contracted any diseases.

Nissan Boss Arrested

Nissan said it was ousting chairman Carlos Ghosn for alleged financial conduct and Japanese media reported he had been arrested, a shocking fate for a leader hailed for rescuing the company from close to bankruptcy. His pay for 2017: €74m.

World Day of Remembrance

Sunday 18 November saw commemorations take place globally to remember those injured and killed in road traffic collisions. Since records began in 1959, there were 24,255 people killed on Irish roads.

And Finally …

A pedestrian is someone who thought there were a couple more gallons of fuel left in the tank.

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