Tha Murray MacLeòid a’ foighneachd eil càraichean cho sàbhailte sa bu chòir

Bha e eadar meadhan-oidhche agus uair sa mhadainn nuair a chuala mi a' bhrag uabhasach. Dhùsg mi às mo shuain-chadal agus e soilleir gun robh rudeigin fada ceàrr. Cha b’ e bruadair no aisling a bha seo.

Tha càraichean gu math nas luaithe an-duigh
Tha càraichean gu math nas luaithe an-duigh

[English-language version below]

Nuair a tha thu a' fuireach ann an àite far a bheil tòrr thubaistean rathaid – far a bheil sinne, ear-thuath air Steòrnabhagh, air còrnair, fada, cunnartach – tha thu an-còmhnaidh air bhioran a’ fuireach ris an ath-thè. Ann an coimhearsnachd bheag dhen t-seòrsa seo, tha e dualtach cuideachd gun aithnich thu iad.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Anmoch air an oidhche ‘s gun robh e, agus gun duine timcheall, bha fios a'm gum feumadh sinn a dhol a-mach a chuideachadh, gu h-àraid agus mo bhean na tè mheidigeach proifiseanta. Mun àm a fhuair sinn ann, agus cha robh ann ach mionaid no dhà, bha càr eile air stad agus bha am fear a bha anns an tubaist, balach òg, a' seasamh air a dhà chas slàn, falainn.

Chan eil fhios air thalamh ciamar. Bhuail e ann an fasgadh nam busaichean, bhuail e soidhne na casg astair (smuain ann an sin fhèin), thròbh e tron ghlasach, tro bhalla gàraidh agus bhrag na cheann dìreach ann an ceann taighe, le bonaid a’ chàir a’ deànamh sgàirt de dh’uinneag a' chidsin. Eagalach.

Chan eil fhios againn dè cho luath ‘s a bha an càr seo a’ dol agus fòrtanach, cha robh duine air an droch ghoirteachadh, ged a bha am bodach a bha am broinn an taighe air a chlìsgeadh gu dona, agus ‘s beag an t-iongnadh.

A dh’aindheoin gach adhartais air sàbhailteachd agus iomairtean poblachd gus aire dhaoine a tharraing gu bhith faiceallach, tha an seòrsa rud seo a’ tachairt fada ro thric. A-mach às na daoine gu lèir a tha air am marbhadh air rathad gach bliadhna, tha 62% dhen sin a’ tachairt air na rathaidean dùthchail a-mach à 42% dhen trafaig gu lèir.

Ann an dòigh, gabhaidh seo a thuigsinn. Tha na rathaidean nas fhosgailte agus tòrr nas sàmhaiche agus le sin, tha dràibhearan a’ dol nas luaithe agus tha sin a’ ciallachadh nuair a thig rudeigin ceàrr, tha e dualtach a bhith nas miosa. Agus le na geàrraidhean a th’ air tachairt ann an àireamh nam poileas, chan eil uimhir aca timcheall.

Tha càraichean fada nas sàbhailte na bha iad agus co-dhiù, nuair a thàinig e gu oidhiche Luain, bha e cho follaiseach gun robh na pocan-gaoithe air a bheatha a shàbhaladh agus a phàrantan a shàbhaladh bhon bhriseadh cridhe as miosa a tha ann.

Ach, ‘s cinnteach a-nis gu bheil an teicneòlas aig an ìre agus gum faodar barrachd a dhèanamh. Carson, a thuilleadh air na seirbheisean èiginn, a dh’fheumas carbad sam bith siubhail aig astar nas luaithe na 100 mìle san uair nuair nach eil e ceadaichte a dhol nas luaithe na 70 mìle san uair air rathad poblach sam bith? Carson, nuair a tha teicneòlas ann far a bheil thu a’ cleachdadh do chorraig son an einnsean a chur gu dol, nach eil e comasach astar a' chàir atharrachadh a-rèir cò a tha ga dhràibheadh?

Tha fios againn gu bheil daoine a’ call am beatha a’ dol aig astar. ‘S e an duilgheadas nuair a tha thu a' dèiligeadh le aineolas is gòraiche na h-òige gu bheil comhairle shocrachadh a’ dol a-steach aon chluas agus a-mach an tèile. Tha luach nam billeanan mòra ann an gnìomhachas nan càraichean agus adhartas mòr air a dheànamh air sàbhailteachd, ach saoil a bheil dha-rìribh gu leòr air a dheànamh san là a th' ann? ‘S cinnteach ma thig fiù ‘s aon bheatha a shàbhaladh tro bhith cleachdadh teicneòlas nas adhartaiche gur math as fhiach e.

Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

It was going on for 1am and the guttural, rumbling thud was a terrifying signal that something had gone badly wrong. This was no dream or nightmare, as I bolted upright from slumber.

When you live near an accident blackspot – in our case a long sweeping bend north-east of Stornoway – you’re always somewhat on edge, wondering when the next accident will be and whether, living in a small community, you’ll know those involved. Chances are you will.

In the middle of the night, with no-one about, I knew we had to go out and help, especially with the better half being a medical professional.

By the time we got there, around 150 yards from the front door, another car had stopped and the driver of the crashed vehicle, a young lad, had walked out of the wreckage unharmed.

How is a miracle beyond comprehension. He had failed to take the bend, clipped the bus shelter, clipped the 40mph road sign, ploughed through 30 metres of grass, through a garden wall and headfirst into a neighbour’s house, with the nose of the car ending up poking through the kitchen window. The BMW was, as you can imagine, a mangled mess.

Fortunately no-one was badly hurt, although the elderly resident was understandably badly shaken.

Despite all the advances and public safety awareness campaigns, incidents like these remain far too prevalent. Rural roads account for 62 per cent of all fatalities, from just 40 per cent of traffic.

The reason for this may be easy to understand. The roads are more open, so drivers go faster and consequently when things do go wrong they tend to be of greater severity. And, thanks to cut-backs and changing priorities, there’s not so many police about.

Cars in general are far safer than what they used to be and, in the case of Monday night, it seemed the airbags had saved this particular individual’s life, sparing his parents the ultimate heartbreak.

While I don't know whether he was speeding or just another victim of the blackspot, surely the technology is now at a stage where more could be done to limit a car’s potential speed.

Why, apart from for the emergency services, is it necessary for a car to reach speeds of over 100mph when it’s not legally possible to go faster on any public road than 70mph? Why, with touch-start technology, is it not possible to alter a car’s performance depending on the driver profile?

We all know that speed kills. The problem is that the inexperience and exuberance of youth, fuelled by a sense of freedom and indestructibility, leads to a tendancy to ignore such warnings.

The car industry is a multi-billion-pound industry which has made great strides in improving safety, but you do wonder whether enough is being done to limit access to powerful cars that, in the wrong hands, are a deathtrap. It shouldn’t be up to others to pick up the pieces.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.