Don't Drink and Drive: Austrian Politician Jörg Haider Car Crash

The controversial Austrian politician and Governor of Carinthia Jörg Haider was killed in a car crash in the early hours of October 11, 2008. Police reported that the Volkswagen Phaeton that Haider had been driving came off the road, rolled down an embankment and overturned, causing him severe head and chest injuries. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Haider, who was on his way from a gay night club and going to celebrate his mother's 90th birthday, was alone in the government car and was not wearing a seat belt. At the time of the crash, Haider's car was travelling at 142 km/h (88 mph), and at least more than twice the legal speed limit of 70 km/h (43 mph) for that part of the road.

Wolfgang Fellner, publisher of "Österreich", wrote: "I have fought bitterly" with Jörg Haider, he died as he lived: always full-throttle, always over the limit."

The Volkswagen Phaeton (pronounced "fay-ton") is a large luxury sedan manufactured by German car manufacturer Volkswagen in an attempt to surpass the prestige market leaders, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Phaeton should be capable of being driven all day at 300 km/h (190 mph) with an exterior temperature of 50 °C (122 °F) whilst maintaining the interior temperature at 22 °C (72 °F). The car should possess torsional rigidity of 37,000 Nm/degree. The Phaeton's platform, the Volkswagen Group D1 platform, is shared with the Bentley Continental GT and Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

Even a car like that however cannot protect a driver who is drunk and does not wear a seat belt. Click here for BBC photos of the crash site.

According to several witnesses, Haider drank an entire bottle of vodka in the company of a young man at a gay bar, leaving the nightspot at 1.05 AM, "staggering" around, visibly drunk. Despite being told not to drive, Haider said goodbye to the man and exchanged phone numbers, he got in his car and drove away. He died thirteen minutes later in a fatal crash.

Haider's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.18%, more than three times the legal limit of 0.05%.

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Jörg Haider, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Volkswagen Phaeton, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Austrian far-Right leader Haider goes to his grave, taking secret of last hours in gay club with him. Daily Mail.
Mystery cloaks the last hours of Joerg Haider's life.
Haider goes to his grave, pursued by controversy. Independent.
Jörg Haider - Trauerfeier - Abschied von einer Legende. YouTube.
Road Safety in the UK TV PSA
Drunk Driving, Distracted Driving, Moralism, and Public Health - NEJM
Image sources: Vodka, Wikipedia, public domain; Jörg Haider, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0; 2005 VW Phaeton, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. A sore that will be missed.