Eric Thompson: Buckle up, you are taking a risk

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Road deaths have reduced in the last few decades. Photo / Natalie Slade
Road deaths have reduced in the last few decades. Photo / Natalie Slade

I've shied away from banging my favourite drum of late about young people killing themselves in motor vehicles. However, after the carnage over the weekend and various reports floating about, I feel I have to reiterate, yet again, that people will die on the roads.

Not only will people die on the roads, but also, since the dawn of time, young people have been trying to kill themselves.

Over the past 100 or so years it's just become a bit easier for them with the advent of the motorcar.

A couple of tonnes or so of metal travelling at speed, with an absolute lack of driver skill, add a healthy dose of teenage "I am bulletproof" attitude, and I'm surprised there isn't more carnage on our roads.

Young folk, no matter what they do, will push the boundaries until something goes horribly wrong, often culminating in death.

How many times have we heard the phrase "it seemed like a good idea at the time"?

Or, as reported in the New Zealand Herald and in the words of Detective Darcy Parke: "The mere fact that there were seven people travelling at speed in a vehicle designed for five shows that there are still too many young people out there risking their own and others' lives on our roads."

At last some truth. If you want to be the architect of your own demise - suck it up when it goes wrong.

No matter how hard the hand-wringers and do-gooder liberals try to blame everyone else but the perpetrators of their own injuries or deaths, things will not change.

I'm no angel and never was. But I didn't load a car up with people and head out onto a highway after being up all night and most of the morning.

The stupidity I got up to in various two and four-wheeled vehicles was on my own kilometres away from anyone else. If I stuffed up I'd only maim or kill myself - not innocents in the car or those minding their own business out and about walking or whatever.

In the case of the Foxton accident, what was a 14-year-old doing shoe-horned into a car at 5am in the morning? I would suggest the parents of that boy take a long, hard look at themselves and ask what he was doing out in an overcrowded car racing through the streets early in the morning.

I can't believe some people are still banging on about the road toll. There are three times as many cars on the roads as 30 years ago, driving skills are non-existent as most youngsters think driving is a video game.

The weird thing though, is the road toll is lower than it was.

It is a statistical fact that the number of deaths on our roads has been steadily declining since the mid to late 1980s. Surely something to celebrate, considering the huge increase of cars on the roads, and the ever-increasing number of fools behind the wheel.

In 1987 New Zealand drivers managed to kill 795 people (not as bad as 1973 when drivers took out 843), and in 2010 it was down to 375 - the same as back in 1960.

Surely something to cause us all to sink to our knees and praise a higher being. It is only the deluded, wearing rose-coloured glasses or those with their heads in the sand, who think you can reduce the road toll to zero - or anywhere remotely near it.

Now, if the Government really wanted to make even more inroads into reducing the fatalities on our roads, introduce compulsory third-party insurance.

I guarantee such a simple move will remove a hell of a lot of unsafe cars and drivers off the road overnight. Then Mr Joyce and his fellow policymakers can work out a plan of raising the driving age, restricted engine size, banning car modifications and all the rest of the stuff that may reduce youth deaths on the roads.

In the meantime there's a quick fix (third-party insurance) ... oh, and it might just be a revenue stream for a near-destitute government.

- NZ Herald

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