Another Precious Life Lost on Irish Roads

After celebrating their daughter’s 19th birthday, they thought that she had her whole life ahead of her. Kym had plans to travel the world, go to college and to grow older with her friends and family. One knock at the Harley household changed their lives forever, their wonderful daughter and the “heart and soul” of their family was taken from them in an instant.

October 14th saw the tragic death of a 19-year-old Donegal girl in a road accident. Kym Harley was the daughter of well-known Fine Gale county councillor Martin Harley and his wife Denise.

Kym was the front seat passenger in a one vehicle collision outside the twin towns of Ballybofey and Stranorlar two weeks ago. In the dark hours of the morning the car in which she was travelling hit a ditch before rolling over, killing Kym on impact, only 300 meters from the front door of her family home. The alarming fact is, these tragedies happen all the time.

Kym stepped into the car that night without the slightest notion that it would be her last journey. “Kym’s zest for life, and beautiful personality endeared her to anyone who had the privilege of knowing her,” Kym’s father said in a moving tribute at her funeral.

Hundreds of families are torn apart each year as a result of car accidents and Kym was one of the people killed on Irish roads that week. In the words of The Road Safety Authority, “will you be in next week’s figures?”

According to the RSA,the number of deaths on Irish roads last year was 190, that’s an increase of 17% from the previous year. Road deaths are becoming frighteningly more common and it is up to us to prevent the figures from continuing to rise. Amongst those killed last year 43 of them were aged between 16 and 26.

The most frightening thing of all is that the majority of road incidents are preventable. The main causes of accidents include speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone whilst driving or driving under the influence. One error and lives are lost, in a matter of seconds.

If you are the driver or the passengers in a car it is your responsibility to ensure everyone traveling in the car wears their seatbelt, to stay within the speed limit and lookout for any pedestrians and cyclists on the road. These small steps save lives.

If you have a full licence and tax on your car, you can legally sit behind the wheel of any car from the age of 17. Young drivers are sitting into powerful cars that some don’t know how to control. Theoretically speaking, giving a licence to a 17 year old is like giving them a licence to kill. Not to stereotype young drivers but the reality is that there are some reckless drivers out there.

Imagine a member of your family answering the door to hear that you’ve been killed in a road accident or imagine killing a loved one because of things you can control.

We are lucky enough to have been born into a world where science and engineering are moving forward and cars are becoming more powerful. At the end of the day, we all need to be more careful before another loved one is buried six feet under.

Caoimhe Mc Bride

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