Following on from Niall's blog posts here and here and my own here, Niall has set up a lovely new site called ShiteDrivers.com.
More information about it.
Please feel free to log comments on Niall's blog post or indeed on this one with ideas or suggestions. Really, the state of some of the driving on Irish roads these days leaves a lot to be desired and something needs to be done to address this.
For myself, here are a few suggestions that I think the NRA (National Roads Authority) need to address ASAP
1) Awareness Campaigns.
We need awareness campaigns urgently on how to deal with roads and situations. We have a huge amount of people who have never encountered or had to deal with motorways, dual carriageways or slow/fast lanes and suddenly these are introduced with no training or details. We need TV ads, newspaper ads and flyers detailing these so that at least people might get the idea. To me a 50 year old is as dangerous on a motorway if they have never been on one before as much as a learner of 2 years in the same situation.
2) Driver Training.
The driver training program needs urgent revamp. It needs to include more items like how to deal with cyclists and motorbikes. It needs to include 'zipping' and general road courtesy. None of these things are on the test. Fast roads, decent size roundabouts, traffic...loads of things need to be done during the test and we need to ensure that the people we are letting drive on the roads can indeed drive. There is no point in testing someone in a 50km zone and in housing estates and then letting them off on motorways. They need to be tested on motorways or national roads on which they will regularly drive.
3) More Cameras
I think we need more cameras but not just for speed. People regularly do not use roundabouts correctly and often go into the wrong lane. If we had some cameras on roundabouts and people were fined for not using indicators or using the wrong lane then it might stop people. We need cameras also on motorways and dual carriageways to check people's driving. Speed is indeed an issue but stupidity is as big an issue in my mind. We should also have cameras on roads that have had a high number of fatalities so we could see what is happening. Maybe, with the families consent, they could be shown to learner drivers, and others, to see what happens when you go that bit to fast on a bad road or what happens driving - even at/under the speed limit - on wet/slippy roads.
4) Pedestrian Awareness
People nowadays have no fear of cars. People regularly walk on the incorrect side of the road or cross the road, taking their time, and cause cars to stop. Pedestrians need to be more aware of themselves and treat the road with more respect. I myself had a good grounding in respect for the road from both my parents and teachers and I wonder what is happening now?
5) Cycle lanes and Paths
We need more...much, much more. The proposal for the €30bm is great but I would love to read the whole thing. Its fantastic that cycle paths are to be introduced for tourists but have the ordinary Irish folk been thought off? No. I tried to cycle from Cobh to Little Island but had to stop. The road is constantly being dug up and is crap and car/lorry drivers give you no space or respect. I would class myself as an experienced cyclist so I don't see how kids/families can cycle on that road. We need the whole thing to be assessed and cycle paths but in where we the Irish need them.
We also need more pedestrian paths. It really should be part of the infrastructure plan when housing estates are being created to have proper access in and around and not have to stop at the entrance. More and more housing estates are being built and its great walking around them but when you leave them you are often on a main road or a narrow road (like near our house) with lots of traffic.
More statistics need to be shown in the media. We need to know the breakdown of what caused the accident. To often speed is assumed when it may have been something else. It could have been a bad road, wet conditions, very inexperienced driver anything. Drink is a concern and so is speed but so is poor driving, ignorant pedestrians and stupidity. Lets see the causes and do something about them rather than assuming everything is drink/speed related.
I'm sure there are other items but even if these could be addressed soon the roads would be a better - and safer - place.