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Massaging of figures won’t end road carnage

ATTEMPTS by John Mallon (Letters, July 23) to downplay the grim facts around Ireland’s unremitting road carnage and relegate them to just another “hazard of life as we know it” are bit disingenuous to say the least.

The horrible spectre of road carnage is no trivial subject for playing around with figures or putting down to mere chance. The cumulative impact of the car culture on society at present has enough scary influence to consider it a social evil.

According to the WHO there are about 1.2 million people killed in road crashes every year, 10 million people are injured, costing an estimated $520 billion to the world economy.

In the US, highway fatalities account for more than 94% of all transportation deaths.

There are an estimated 6.5 million car accidents in the US annually. Around 40,000 people are killed each year (14.3 per 100,000 population). That is more than all the deaths from common flu, murder, airline crashes, workplace accidents, poisoning, lightning strikes and possibly falling down stairs. An average of 114 people die each day in car crashes in the US.

In India where car numbers have rocketed recently, those same grim fatality statistics apply even though the automobile has to share the roads with wild pigs, water buffalo, bullocks, camels, rickshaws, bicycles and beggars.

In Britain, the estimated cost of road fatalities and injuries to the economy is around £60 billion annually.

These are the raw “data of death” with no massaging of figures or downplaying of facts. They cannot be reduced to the trivia of mere statistics and chance and dismissed because they are an inconvenient truth.

Road deaths are preventable. They are not a fait accompli. There are safer, saner alternatives available and if we are to call ourselves a responsible society, they must be pursued with vigour.

John Fitzgerald



Co Kilkenny


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