'Half my heart is gone' after daughter (17) was killed in a road crash in County Tipperary

RTÉ Prime Time reveal road safety figures on level of fatal crashes involving learner drivers.

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A father has said 'half my heart is gone' after his 17-year-old daughter was killed in a crash in County Tipperary

Speaking to RTÉ Prime Time, Alec Lee spoke of the tragic loss of his daughter Carol in 2000. “All I’ve got left is memories and photographs and when you look through photos your heart breaks because the main thing that really upsets me is that there was no reason for my daughter to be dead. She should be alive and enjoying her life. The pain is still there – half my heart is gone,” Mr. Lee said.

Carol Lee died in a road crash at the age of 17.

RTÉ’s Prime Time revealed that the proportion of learner drivers involved in fatal car accidents is much lower than the proportion of learner drivers on the road. The report on newly compiled figures were uncovered as the Government prepares to clampdown on learner drivers who drive unaccompanied, which is against the law.

Almost 9% of all drivers in Ireland hold a learners permit. However, figures supplied to RTÉ by the Road Safety Authority suggest that in the past four years just 5.8% of fatal collisions involved a learner driver.

There are plans to amend legislation which would hold the owner of cars responsible if learner drivers use them unaccompanied. The proposals could see the introduction of fines, imprisonment and the seizing of vehicles.

The Road Safety Authority has said that in the past three years 47 learner drivers have been involved in fatal crashes. The authority told RTÉ Prime Time that unaccompanied learner drivers are “out there causing serious risk to other people. It really isn’t acceptable”.

 Mr. Lee appealed to learner drivers not to drive unaccompanied. “If learner drivers were in my shoes they could see what effect it has had at first hand. They have no experience so they shouldn't be driving. And as well as the law states they shouldn’t be driving, Gardai should take them off the road. The laws that are there at the moment are simply not being enforced... it’s just like a nod and wink,” he added.

Chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdock, said on average 12 learners are involved in fatal crashes every year and ten are unaccompanied. He added: “That compares very unfavourably with our near neighbours in the north where in 2016 they reported no learner or unaccompanied learner involved in a fatal crash. Those are stark figures – there’s not much difference in society between north and south but there is a different attitude towards unaccompanied learner drivers.”

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