Thursday 21 January 2010

Roads and Responsibility

15st 6lb, 4.5 units. Too much to eat and drink again last night. Which might have had something to do with the almost two hours it took me to complete what should have been a 40 minute journey home, thanks to the closure of the A55 near Chester owing to “an accident”. As a result of which I felt seriously in need of a drink by the time I walked through the front door.

I’d love to tell you more. And no doubt you’d love to read it. After all, we all adore a good accident, don’t we? Just think how often you have been delayed on the motorway by traffic that has slowed to a crawl for no other reason than that everyone in front of you felt the need to have a jolly good gawp at some incident in the opposite carriageway.

So I regret that I have no further intelligence to share with you. You might think that an accident serious enough to require the closure of half a major dual carriageway, causing gridlock during the evening rush hour, might have merited a mention somewhere so that those caught up in the resulting chaos could find out what the hell it had all been about. But clearly not. Even in these days of the information superhighway, extensive searches have turned up precisely nothing.

It was the same on both occasions when I observed crashes at close hand, through my rear view mirror. Once on the M62 and once on the Central Motorway in Newcastle, I came to a halt behind stationary cars and fast moving vehicles behind me didn’t. I vividly remember watching a BMW flying through the air and performing several somersaults, wondering whether it would stop before it landed on me. It did. Which was particularly lucky because, in that instance, in Newcastle, I was driving a brand new car which I had travelled less than a mile from the showroom after picking it up. “Bloody typical”, I thought as I sat there glumly waiting for the chain reaction of crashes to involve me, but amazingly escaped without a scratch after the large white van behind me sportingly steered away from my car when he was struck. Perhaps he could not bear to dent my pristine paintwork. Perhaps he was hoping for a reward. Who knows?

Anyway, it all seemed pretty spectacular at the time and I eagerly scanned the news to read reports, but neither crash was ever mentioned anywhere. Similarly, a few years ago I was brought to a grinding halt by a huge fire on the A1. I eventually found a short report of that one on the local BBC news website. A young mother and her two children had been crushed and then incinerated by a timber lorry that had failed to notice their car, stationary in roadworks. It had merited a passing mention on the local radio station, no more. If it had involved a train it would have been one of the lead items on the national news on TV, but death and injuries on the roads are apparently considered such an everyday event that they are not really worth reporting.

Apart from that I spent my day gamely trying to write something about what used to be called Corporate Social Responsibility, but now seems to have become just Corporate Responsibility, presumably to reflect the fact that big companies seem to feel obliged to pretend that they are trying to save the planet, as well as the humans infesting it. It’s all very worthy, but my goodness it’s dull. It reminded me why I tried to weasel my way out of writing so many annual reports a few years ago. There are not a lot of laughs to be had of it, that’s for sure. I wonder whether I should try adding an irresponsibly humorous Corporate Responsibility section to my own website?

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