Irish emergency services deliver hard-hitting road safety message

Care, Caution, Courtesy on the roads at all times

Published:  22 October, 2013

Everyone - drivers, bikers, walkers, and cyclists - should exercise care, caution and courtesy on the roads at all times.  Remain focussed on your safety and that of all other road users throughout your entire journey, and actively observe the Rules of the Road.

These are some of the key road safety messages from a series of events organised by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLR) in the currently ongoing Road Casualty Reduction Programme. The initiative is promoted by the Gardaí (Irish National Police Service), the Dublin local authorities, Dublin Fire Brigade, HSE National Ambulance Services, Road Safety Authority and transport providers.

Live road collision simulation

Initiatives by DLR included a road collision simulation held in University College Dublin with a full emergency service attendance. This was a graphic depiction of the serious road injuries that emergency services must deal with every day.  A young driver was also breathalysed and ‘arrested’ at the scene - getting across the message that Gardaí will breathalyse all drivers where there has been a collision. Emergency services discussed the unfolding scene with students and an announcer provided live updates and interviews throughout the incident.

Justin Burns, Incident Commander from Dublin Fire Brigade said: ‘The purpose of this hard hitting campaign is to reinforce the road safety message. As emergency service responders we witness first-hand the consequences of negligent actions on our roads. We need people to understand that they must act responsibly when using our road network, be it as a pedestrian, cyclist, motor vehicle user or by any other means of transport. By delivering the message in this way we can let the audience experience in a controlled environment the human impact of dangerous actions on our roads.’

Homework for drivers

The campaign includes a Garda Checkpoint with a difference, where local pupils provided some road safety ‘Homework for Drivers’ reminding them to be careful outside their schools.  At schools everywhere, some parents on the daily school run will sometimes park illegally or unsafely in the rush to drop off or collect their child.  However, they may be placing other road users and even children in danger.  Illegal parking can block the safe view between cars and pedestrians – especially children.  It can also sometimes prevent emergency services accessing calls in the area around a school.

AXA Roadsafe Roadshow

DLR, AXA insurance and the emergency services also brought the AXA Roadsafe Roadshow to Dún Laoghaire, attended by hundreds of young future drivers from transition year in local schools. Gardaí, Firefighters, Paramedics and an A&E Consultant provided thought provoking insights for the students into the human impact and horrific consequences of road accidents. 

Other initiatives include major road network campaigns for vulnerable road users consisting of high-visibility vests and other safety equipment giveaways. Gardaí have also been providing advice to road users in addition to their regular road safety enforcement activities throughout the County.

Streetsmart

Targeting the safety message towards young school children, the ‘Streetsmart’ programme aims to bring road safety to life in a fun way and is available to local schools throughout the County area of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown.  Designed for 4-12 year-olds, teachers and staff from the Road Safety Authority provide the programme to the children.  A ‘Streetscape’ mat with a typical street scene is set up in the school hall and children are taught how to use the road safely.  They can also participate in a range of activities such as storytelling, road safety games and an interactive road safety question and answer session.  

Real Numbers = real people

While the Dublin Metropolitan Region, which includes Dún Laoghaire, is now considered to be one of the safest cities with regard to road safety in Europe, there is no room for complacency.

Sadly, figures show there were some 6,389 injuries on Irish roads in 2012 (provisional figures) and 162 road deaths. The 162 who died included 29 pedestrians, 8 cyclists, 95 car occupants, 19 bikers and 11 other people killed in various road incidents involving goods or HGV vehicles and also a minibus.

The estimated cost of all road collisions reported to and recorded by the Gardaí in 2011 was €792 million.  This is a reduction of 42 per cent since 2007.  Road deaths in the Republic of Ireland have fallen to the lowest level since records were first officially taken in 1959. The rate of fatalities per million of the population is now 41, less than half of the rate in 2001 (107). Source: (RSA Road Collision Facts).

The current campaign seeks to bring home to all road users the true impact of these statistics.  Behind each number is a real person – family members, parents, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours in the community.

Seamus Storan, Road Safety Engineer of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said: ‘These are innovative ways of bringing home the very real impact of road accidents which members of the emergency services must attend on a daily basis nationwide. The fact is that, while we are constantly improving our roads infrastructure, it is the actual behaviour of road users which can prevent collisions, injuries and deaths.

‘While collisions have many causes, the one thing that all serious collisions have in common is that they destroy lives forever and place an immense burden on families and communities.  Sadly it is the18 - 24 age groups where accident statistics show the highest fatality rates.

‘We’re highlighting the need to drive safely, to slow down and observe speed limits.  Never use your phone while driving; always wear seatbelts and never ever drink and drive.” 

Please visit www.rsa.ie and www.garda.ie for road safety tips and advice

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council wishes to thank An Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, HSE National Ambulance Service, the Road Safety Authority, Civil Defence, Transport Providers, Kelly Vehicle Recovery, Scene4real and all participants in the Road Casualty Reduction Programme.

Author: Felicity Gill, Travel Plan Co-Ordinator, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

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