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Reckless drivers must be dealt with sternly

Editor's Viewpoint

Police quite rightly have described a video recording of a dangerous incident on a Northern Ireland road as horrifying. It is impossible for any rational person to view the video and wonder just what was going through the mind of the driver involved.

They overtook a vehicle at high speed in the face of oncoming traffic and then veered right across the road to the hard shoulder on the opposite side, before rejoining the correct lane further along.

One of those who viewed it is the mother of a young girl who had been given a lift in the vehicle, and as she tells us today, she believes her daughter narrowly escaped death. It is hard to argue with her reasoning as it was only by good fortune that the manoeuvre did not result in a horrendous accident.

Indeed, the young girl who was given the lift was so terrified that she blacked out.

It should be in the forefront of every driver's mind when they set out on a journey that they are controlling what is potentially a lethal weapon. Even a moment's inattention could prove fatal on the shortest of journeys, never mind the short of reckless behaviour seen on the video.

Last year 68 people were killed on our roads, with drivers and passengers making up the largest number of fatalities. That was a slight decrease on the number of deaths the previous year, but it is still too many. Each of those victims has left a void in the lives of family and friends.

Expensive road safety campaigns constantly drive home the key messages for motorists - don't drink and drive; pay attention; avoid using mobile phones while driving, don't speed or distract the driver.

These campaigns undoubtedly have saved lives, but it appears that too many motorists continue to ignore all the warnings. They are not just dicing with their own lives, but also those of their passengers or other road users.

Imagine if the driver in the video had run out of road when travelling against oncoming traffic. That could have resulted in several deaths.

Families bereaved by irresponsible drivers often complain about the sentences imposed on the offenders.

There is a case to be made that those guilty of dangerous driving - even if deaths or injuries do not result - should face harsher penalties.

If education cannot get the message across about the need to take care on the roads, then perhaps the prospect of severe penalties can.

Belfast Telegraph

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