In this episode, I talk with Donna Price. Donna, a mother of four children, founded the Irish Road Victims’ Association (IRVA) in 2012 following the sudden death of her 18 year old son Darren in a crash in March 2006. Donna was frustrated and felt unsupported and alone while navigating the inquest into her son’s accident which took far too long, and left her family without answers, statute barred for civil action, and lacking closure.
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Donna felt that there was no support for her family during the six years that they waited for the Coroner’s inquest… six years! She committed to making sure that families of road crash victims who find themselves in the same position as herself, would have a source of support, advocacy, and comfort, and that they never have to experience the pain and suffering her family experienced. This is why awareness of IRVA is absolutely vital.
The Road Victims’ Association in addition to being a listening ear, and peer support, they provide (and cover the cost for) bereavement counseling. They also provide free legal advice for families navigating the inquiry process and hold monthly support meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (currently online due to COVID). Additionally, the IRVA comes together every year on the 3rd Sunday in November, with over 300 families, to mark the World Day of Remembrance for road collision victims.
Over 1.36 million people all over the world are killed in road traffic collisions and another 50 million are seriously injured and left with life altering injuries. While they are primarily a victim support organization, the IRVA advocates for change in legislation when needed. For example, after her son’s fatal crash, the lorry driver was not tested for drugs or alcohol, although her son was tested at autopsy and had zero alcohol or drugs in his system. Donna, and other bereaved families, campaigned to make sure that legislation was changed to ensure that there was mandatory testing when there was a death or serious bodily injury following a road traffic collision.
IRVA also has international significance and impact in strengthening the voice of victims’ and their families on a global level, as an NGO through a wide-reaching network of road victims’ association IRVP (International Road Victims’ Partnership). Did you know that 154 people are killed every hour on the roads of the world – that’s 3,700 people every single day that we hear very little about. Why? Because these are small, individual tragedies where families alone are left to pick up the pieces and deal with the horrific consequences in the aftermath. With this global network, wherever in the world the traffic collision takes place, this organization can get much needed information and support to victim’s families.
While it may seem that IRVA might have an adversarial relationship with law enforcement and governing bodies, that couldn’t be further from the truth. They work closely with the authorities to make sure that the families of road crash victims are well supported and that they understand the role and process of investigations and inquiries. In fact, IRVA has worked hard to make sure that law enforcement authorities provide the families of road crash victims’ with contact information and literature connecting them to IRVA’s representatives and services.
IRVA relies on volunteers and many are people who have been personally impacted by loss from road crashes. Volunteers help to raise much needed funds for the organization as well provide free legal advice and lobby the government for changes in laws and statutes. The organization has developed several guides that assist not only families, but also prepare NGOs around the world, in working with victims’ families and navigating the processes when tragedy occurs.
Donna encourages any person or family who has been affected by a serious road collision, no matter where in the world you are, to reach out to any one of the 150 organizations within the International Road Victims’ Partnership. All services are provided free of charge. If you would like to support or help with IRVA or IRVP, please get in contact. She says ‘all it takes is one’. One person at a time can save lives and greatly reduce serious road collisions. Come #ListenAndLearn
Websites: IRVA www.irva.ie
Email: IRVA firstname.lastname@example.org
Helpline: IRVA & IRVP 00353 868634194
Twitter: IRVA. @IRVAroadsafety
Facebook: IRVA https://www.facebook.com/IrishRoadVictims/