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  • Claire Vorster

Paul Walker Crash. What Can We Learn?

Paul Walker, stalwart of the Fast and Furious movie franchise died in a terrible car crash in Southern California last month. He was 40.

Walker was in the passenger seat of a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, driven by racing team partner Roger Rodas, when the car slammed into a light pole and burst into flames in an office park in the community of Valencia in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood. The wreck took place just a few hundred yards from the shop owned by Rodas. Both men had just attended a holiday toy drive for Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide.

Paul William Walker IV was an American actor whose career took off when he was cast as undercover cop Brian O’Conner infiltrating a street-racing gang in 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious.” This surprise box-office hit yielded numerous sequels. And along with Vin Diesel, Walker was one of the franchise’s much loved regulars. On his verified Twitter account, Walker described himself as “outdoorsman, ocean addict, adrenaline junkie … and I do some acting on the side.”

Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were reportedly going approximately 90 miles per hour when the car crashed, according to a statement from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Jeff Maag. “For that car to disintegrate the way it did, speed, of course [was a factor], but something went wrong and it put them at an angle to the curb” said Antonio Holmes, a friend of both Roger and Paul and a car enthusiast.

CNN reports that the 600 horsepower Porsche Carrera GT is notoriously difficult to handle, even for professional drivers. Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson says drivers are on a ‘knife edge’ handling the car and described it as ‘brutal and savage’. ‘It is a phenomena’ he says ‘mind blowingly good. Make a mistake — it bites your head off.’

“The Carrera GT has a top speed of 208 mph, a very high-revving V10 engine and more than 600 horsepower. This was not a car for novices. Having the engine in the middle of the car means it’s more agile and turns more quickly than a car with the engine in the front or in the rear so it is able to change direction very quickly, very much like a race car.” Eddie Alterman, Editor-in-Chief, Car and Driver magazine

Singapore’s own appetite for fast cars seems insatiable. The facts speak for themselves, ST Cars reports that from 2001 to last year, the population of sports cars grew by a staggering 437 per cent.

Of more concern is that injuries suffered by victims of road traffic accidents are becoming increasingly serious, according to figures from two Singapore hospitals. The hospitals cited speeding, drink driving and an increase in heavy vehicles as likely causes,

“High-speed crashes tend to result in worse injuries. A higher number of cars, a higher population density, and speeding: It’s a recipe for a major accident to happen.” Teo Li Tserng, Tan Tock Seng Hospital trauma surgeon talking to The Straits Times

Although speed cameras can act as a deterrent, viral video footage of a brazen car race along the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway clearly shows errant drivers endangering other road users.

According to The United Nations, road accidents are among the three top causes of death for people aged between 5 and 44.

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