Belfast Telegraph

Shocking road safety ad aimed at speeders broadcast

By Linda Stewart

A shocking road safety ad depicting a speeding driver careering into a group of children aired on TV for the first time last night.

The ad, described by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan as the most sensitive and powerful yet, was due to air last week but was postponed following the death of Belfast schoolboy Conor O'Neill (5) in a road accident.

The new 'Classroom' advert stunned audiences in the north west when it was premiered in cinemas last week, with its depiction of a group of children on a school trip to a woodland falling foul of a speeding driver.

It highlights the fact that 28 children – the equivalent of a classroom – have lost their lives as a result of speeding since 2000.

Mr Durkan said: "This campaign is a real wake-up call. It is a particularly sensitive and compelling message.

"Let's be clear – speeding is not cool and it is not glamorous.

"Speeding is shockingly shameful. People are losing their lives long before they have the chance to fulfil their potential. Families are being destroyed forever. Already this year 29 people have died on our roads. The fact is, excessive speed remains the single biggest principal factor behind road deaths in Northern Ireland, and is responsible for a quarter of fatalities.

"Therefore, the aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding.

"Speeding is a result of human behaviour, a choice a driver makes. In a crash, speeding makes everything worse. Combine speed with human error or the unexpected and the consequences will be tragic.

"We all, as road users, have to take responsibility for ourselves and other road users. We want to see zero deaths on our roads. So I urge all drivers to slow down. You can never control the consequences when you speed."

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: "This advertisement depicts very clearly and very starkly the risks involved when speed is a factor. Most of you will find it shocking but the reality is drivers need to be fully aware of the potential consequences of their actions.

"Too many people in Northern Ireland have lost their lives on our roads, including 28 children since 2000, and the real tragedy is most, if not all fatalities, could have been prevented.

"When it comes to keeping people safe on the roads we all need to take responsibility."

Belfast Telegraph

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