200 young people today (Thursday, 21 February 2013) witnessed the full horror of road traffic incidents and the consequences for the victims and relatives of those involved at a graphic demonstration in Ennis, County Clare.
The mock exercise formed part of a multi-agency road safety initiative for secondary students aimed at improving road safety awareness and reducing the number and severity of road traffic collisions.
Students were also presented with hard-hitting road safety advertisements from around the world, personal accounts from people who have survived serious injury collisions and footage of the families of those who have died.
The RSA’s interactive shuttle and roll-over car was also on site and students were able to experience firsthand the effects of their bodies when a car is rolled over in a crash. This coupled with the car and motor bike simulator which gave all the students who are embarking on their driving career a chance to see the effects of excessive speed in a controlled environment.
Emergency personnel spoke to the students in attendance of their own experiences at the scenes of accidents and of the follow-on effects that change people’s lives forever. All aspects of road safety were covered, including drink and drug driving, speed, pedestrians and cyclists’ fatigue, and the importance of wearing safety belts.
The multi-agency project is led by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Clare County Council, in association with An Garda Síochána, Clare Ambulance Service, and Clare County Fire and Rescue Service.
Garda Rosaleen O’Connor, Clare Division Traffic Corp described the demonstration, which has been viewed by more than 550 Clare secondary school students since Tuesday, as “a very honest and hard hitting account of the reality of road safety in Ireland today as presented by emergency personnel who face the horrors on our roads on a far too regular basis.”
Ms O’Connor said the main aim of the project is to change people’s attitude towards road safety. “It is not about making people better drivers, rather it’s about making them realise how easy it is for things to go wrong and the consequences of bad driving habits. These range from very bad cases of drink and drug driving to simply not looking at the road ahead. One life lost on our roads is one too many, one person injured on our roads is one too many. I believe that all of those who attended this event have left with their eyes truly opened to the reality of road safety in Ireland today,” she added.
Commenting on this week’s road safety demonstrations, Barry Keating, Road Safety Officer with Clare County Council explained: “This event offers our young people the opportunity to learn about the consequences of poor driving behaviour and hopefully they will think carefully about their driving behaviour and realise the terrible consequences of taking risks on the road.
He continued: “I have no doubt that the young people that attended have come away with an understanding of the huge responsibilities that come with being on the road and ultimately for them to be safer on the road.”
Meanwhile, primary school students from the CBS, Ennis National School and the Holy Family Junior School in Ennis this week participated in a new initiative from the RSA which also aims to bring issues of road safety to life for young schoolchildren. RSA staff members hosted ‘StreetSmart’ activities designed for three distinct age groups: 4-5, 5-8, and 8-12 and as part of the programme students will receive a replica personalised safety license as a reward for completing their road safety activities.