Road Safety Ireland – November 2015

Read the latest newsletter from the Emerald Isle:

Appeals €90m HC Ruling


The Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is appealing a High Court ruling under which
it is obliged to assume €90 million in liabilities from the
collapse of Setanta Insurance last year. Fears by motorists that the
ruling by Mr. Justice John Hedigan will lead to higher motor premiums
as insurers pass on the increased costs of funding the MIBIs work for
their clients. The Bureau (MIBI) was established 60 years ago to
compensate the victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers, has
taken the case to the Court of Appeal. The MIBI will argue in its
appeal that responsibility for 1,750 outstanding claims by and
against Setanta policyholders can be borne by the Insurance
Compensation Fund, a separate funded entity which makes payments
mandated by the High Court for insurers in liquidation or

eventual outcome of the appeal will have critical implications for
Setanta claimants. Where MIBI is deemed liable, claimants receive 100
pc of their compensation. Where the ICF is deemed liable, payments
are capped at 65pc of the compensation due and the fund pays only in
cases where the High Court finds there is no other way of meeting the





Drivers will be checked for illegal drugs at the roadside, as well as alcohol, for
the first time after Gardai take delivery of 150 testing machines in
early 2016. New laws will see motorists who get behind the wheel
after taking drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis prosecuted in
a similar fashion to drink-drivers. The roadside test will involve
Gardai taking a swab of saliva from a driver’s inner cheek,
which will be analyzed. Although the sanctions for the new
drug-driving offences are still not finalized, it will be seen as an
“equivalent offence” to drink-driving, where a motorist
can be fined €5,000 and jailed for up to six months. Transport
Minister Paschal Donohoe has promised that legislation to be
introduced to the Dail before the general Election will be as “robust
as possible”. He currently faces a massive job to tidy up
decades of road-traffic law, which is being challenged in the courts
on a daily basis.



Insurance Crisis


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been called on to get personally involved in the motor insurance
problem and appoint a task force to sort it out. AA Ireland made the
call, and said that changes it was calling for to the motor insurance
market could see premiums cut by €80 for every driver. Premiums
have risen sharply by 35pc since the start of the year, the AA said.


AA Ireland recommended that a Government task force would look at a number of
measures to prevent fraud, cutting legal costs, improving regulation,
enhanced enforcement by improving technology for the Gardai, and
ensuring greater transparency within the insurance industry.
Motorists pay €200m a year in legal costs for motor insurance
claims and legal costs amount to 60pc of litigated cases. Mr. Conor
Faughnan of AA Ireland said payments for injuries such as whiplash
average €14,000 in Ireland, but are €5,000 in the UK.



Best Safety Advert.


The Road safety Authority (RSA) has won a worldwide accolade for making the best
Public Service Announcement last year. The TV advertisement –
‘Anatomy of a Split Second’ highlights the dangers of
using a mobile phone and texting while driving. Known as the ‘Golden
Globes’ of advertising, the awards are an international
celebration of creativity and are judged by the advertising
journalism industry. A total of 585 agencies from 75 countries
participated in this year’s award. The RSA will receive €50,000
of free airtime on Euro news across Europe which will bring the
message of mobile phones distraction to a pan European audience.



Sentence –
‘Too Lenient’


The man jailed over Ireland’s worst ever car crash is to be resentenced before
Christmas after his prison term was ruled too lenient. The Court of
Appeal said the driver from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, effectively had
his original sentence “double discounted”. The driver
pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of eight men
on a road near Buncrana on July 11, 2010. The final two years of the
sentence were suspended last December. Before the Court of Appeal, a
barrister for the Director of Public prosecutions (DPP) argued the
sentence did not reflect the gravity of the accused’s
culpability and the harm caused. In a 22-page judgement, a three
judge Court of Appeal ruled the sentencing judge “erred”
when weighing up the factors involved in the case.



‘Named and Shamed’


The Road Safety Authority (RSA) intends to start ‘naming and shaming’
disqualified motorists on its website from early 2016 after
consultation with the Data Protection Commissioner indicated there is
‘no obstacle’ to doing do. The person’s name will
remain on the website and be available for the media to report for
the duration of their suspension. It comes as figures reveal that
Gardai have arrested 456 disqualified drivers on the spot since they
were given new powers to do so at the end of June.




Asked how the ‘name and shame’ process would work, the RSA said: “There’s
precedent for this sort of approach in that the NTA publishes details
of taxi driver disqualifications and the Director of Corporate
Enforcement provides outcomes of court cases in which it has been
involved. The Revenue Commissioners also publish the list of tax
defaulters on a quarterly basis.



Insurance Claims


One man was jailed and six others received suspended prison sentences for staging fake
road traffic accidents to lodge fraudulent personal injury claims.
They admitted a variety of fraud and deception offences following a
major Garda investigation, called Operation Nascar, into suspicious
traffic accidents nationwide. The accidents in Cork city and
surrounding areas were staged in 2011and 2012. They resulted in total
claims of more than €164,000. Aviva’s fraud manager Robert
Smyth, welcomed both the convictions and sentences.
addition to adding €50.00 to the cost of premiums, staged
accidents also take up the time as well as resources of the Gardai
and other emergency services, diverting them from cases of genuine

he said.



Ford -“I
shall return” ?


William Clay Ford Jnr., great-grandson of Henry Ford and Executive Chairman of Ford
Motor Company said he would “love it” if the car giant
returned to Cork, Ireland. While the move is unlikely to happen
anytime soon, his comments may give hope that high-wage
industrialized countries such as Ireland could still host car
manufacturers in the future. Mr. Ford spoke of his love for Ireland,
so much transformation here. Our company and industry are changing at
an unprecedented pace, and Dublin is the place to talk about this”.
is the only place where we’re registered as Henry Ford and
Sons. That’s because the board didn’t approve of Henry
setting up here, so he went ahead and did it anyway using his name”.



On his 50
th wedding anniversary, Henry Ford was asked his formula for a
successful married life. He replied that it was the same formula that
made his car successful – “Stick to one model”



DD Loophole


Transport Minister paschal Donohoe has signed emergency legislation to close a loophole
that could result in hundreds of drink driving prosecutions being
thrown out of court. Recently, a High Court judge ruled that a
breathalyzer test statement is not a valid piece of evidence unless
it is in both English and Irish. The new measure introduced by the
Minister means DD tickets can now be issued in either language the
loophole for further cases but the status of previous tickets remain


– Tyres to Oil?


An Irish company – Mimergy – can’t turn water into wine but it can transform
unwanted waste tyres into valuable oil and chemicals, which could be
the next best thing to a miracle. Currently at the development stage
the company aims to be market ready at the end of next year with
technology which turns waste tyres back into the components from
which they’re made – carbon, oil, steel and high-value
chemicals. Founder and Chief Executive Niall Mimagh said:
year Ireland disposes of 3.5m waste tyres and we currently pay to
export over half of these for incineration. Ireland produces just 1pc
of Europe’s waste tyres and 0.001pc of the world’s which
means that the global potential for this technology is enormous”.
is now involved in the patent process and plans to license its
technology to waste operators in Europe and the UK by 2017 and
globally after that.





Sven Schuwirth Head of Sales and Brand at Audi is adamant that autonomous driving “is
the biggest game changer” in the automobile history. He said:
driving changes the entire system of a car. It is on a much higher

pointing to the simple fact that up to now
always had a steering wheel in our hands”.
autonomous driving it will be different. There will be a button to
press when we want to take control, but largely we’ll be
otherwise occupied. That’s why he is convinced we are
witnessing the motoring revolution of all revolutions. Already car
makers are “quite advanced” – just one of several
examples being an Audi driving itself at 200kmh around a Barcelona
racetrack. But why do we need ‘driverless cars’? His
(Svens) reasoning is that on average we spend 60/90 minutes a day at
the wheel.
is a waste of time. Just imagine if you had that time to do whatever
you want. As well as that there would be fewer accidents – 90pc
are caused by human error”

he points out. Audi claims that by the end of 2016 with the new A8
you will see the first step of full autonomous driving on certain
road conditions.


Many hurdles can be envisaged, not least the legal maze. Will the
current road infrastructure be suitable and especially driving in
cities? How about the trust of customers and the initial cost of
driverless cars? Apple and Google are steadily moving forward with
their own ‘creations’. Their background is on digital
systems and mobile phones – not car manufacturing. A car is not
a mobile phone. Finally, if the technology employed in ‘driverless
cars’ fails will there be a warning to alert the driver to take







Driven Mad


A survey for AA Gt. Britain found that women are four times more likely to concede that
their partner is a better driver. Some 28pc of female motorists
accept that their other half is more proficient behind the wheel
compared to just 7pc of men. A total of 37pc of women claim they are
the one who is more careful, while 13pc believe that applies to their
partner. Only 16pc of men accept that their partner is safer than
they are, however.



Opel Zafira


A mother-of-five has told of her family’s luck escape when their Opel Zafira burst
into flames after she and her four passengers fled the smoke-filled
car. The vehicle caught fire last April – months before
problems with the Zafira B’s ventilation and air conditioning
systems were reported elsewhere – any was completely gutted.
Initially, Opel Ireland said it was not its responsibility at that
stage and it had no record of anything being wrong with the car.


Since the problem with Zafira gained national attention with dramatic footage of a car
in Cork bursting into flames last week, Opel has taken the drivers
details. Opel said it was now focusing its resources on investigating
the cause of the fires.



Driver License Photo!


Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is letting a woman who belongs to the
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head in
her driver’s license photo after she cited religious beliefs.
Lindsay Miller says wearing the spaghetti strainer allows her to
express her beliefs, like other religions are allowed to do. A
spokesman for the MRMV says policy does not permit head coverings or
hats on license photos, but exceptions are made for religious



The Carnage
continues …

There were 144 road fatalities up to the end of November as opposed to 176
to the same time last year.





A judge has suggested that legislators should look at tougher sentences for drink
driving bringing them into line with the UK. Speaking at the sentence
hearing at Portlaoise (Co. Laois) Circuit Court, Judge Keenan Johnson
described the victim impact statement of the parents – whose four
year old child was killed by a drunken driver –
one of the most powerful, harrowing, vivid and upsetting that I have
ever read”
driver – a salesman from Portlaoise – was jailed for
seven years and six months and was also disqualified from driving for
20 years.




GoSafe Vans
– ‘Very Valuable Road’


Recently, at a district court in Killarney, Co. Kerry, a man was summoned four times
for speeding on the same stretch of road over three weeks in April.
His solicitor said catching drivers in the 60kph zone on the R563 was
like “shooting fish in a barrel”. Judge James O’Connor
the van leave that place at all? It’s an area of road very
valuable to operators of the speed van scheme”.
least 30 of the 38 speeding summonses before the court were for that
particular stretch of road.





The Porsche 911 that Steve McQueen famously drove in his film ‘Le Mans’
was recently put up for auction in Paris. It was expected to make up
to €350,000. The sale of the car is bound to revive fond
memories of the actor and the role he – and the Porsche –
played in the movie about the famous 24-hour race. In the film,
McQueen plays American race driver Michael Delaney who is competing
for Porsche. One of the early scenes shows McQueen exploring

in his brown 911.



Doesn’t Pay


A man in Pennsylvania caused $4,000 of damage to parking meters he knocked
down for the $30 in coins inside. The driver was captured on CCTV
taking four meters from a car park. Authorities said the 51-year-old
backed his pick-up into a pole holding the meters, which loosened
them enough for him to remove them and put them in his truck.



And finally


It’s the over takers that keep the undertakers busy.


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