Monday, October 23, 2006

There are no accidents like...

road accidents. In fact there are no road accidents at all, the Gardai now prefer to call them 'incidents' as it is not a good idea to prejudge whether there was in reality anything accidental about what has occurred.

If you drive at 100kph on a 50 kph zone and hit a wall, that isn't an accident at all but might be more correctly termed negligence. We can't sue people for causing their own deaths and we rightly do not have crime of suicide anymore. And no it couldn’t have happened to anyone, it could only happen to someone who was driving at such speed in those conditions.

The media with their liking for the dramatic love to show us the scene and talk about the terribleness of the loss of life involved and how sad everyone in the locality is. What the meeja utterly fail to do with remotely the same emphasis is tell people about the outcome of inquests and investigations in the causes and circumstance surrounding the incidents. Pinning the blame appears to be something that happens behind closed doors despite the public nature of the inquests.

When it comes to creating a picture of why we have the level of road deaths we do what tends to happen is the media show us the scene, give us some superficial details and then each individual member of the public makes up their own back story as to what caused it based on their own bias, effing women drivers, slow drivers, drunks, drugs, speeding young fellas, learners, foreigners. Basically, it is a matter of think for yourself on less than all the information and takes your pick. The meeja give us say 30% of the facts and let people draw their own conclusions. The problem with this is that no one’s viewpoints are ever challenged. If they aren’t challenged why would they change?

Since all national politicians are elected based on locality pretty much none of them are going to speak out on the issue in a manner likely to cause hurt to Mary from down the road who lost her youngest in a road crash at 2am in the morning. So it is down to people who aren’t elected to say the necessary but painful truth. Most of the people who die on the roads are complicit in their own deaths. Yes, I guess I do come across as a heartless bastard but we need some less heart and more cop-on applied to the situation.

As part of this is the idea of general grief. We expect public figures to feel grief for people they never met and didn’t know. I’m not going to bed at night weeping for those who are dead in such circumstance. I do feel a general regret for their families but for the people who are dead I don’t feel anything but anger and annoyance. And that is the only feeling that will lead to something being done. There is some old phrase about nothing becoming someone like the manner of their passing, well if it is at the wheel of a car whether drunk or speeding in the dead of night then all that means is you were a fraking idiot.