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Donegal 'boy racers' driving cars at each other in latest rural craze

Published 09/08/2016

The so-called 'chicken game' involves drivers in their late teens and early 20s speeding towards one another before attempting to avoid each other at the last moment. [File photo]
The so-called 'chicken game' involves drivers in their late teens and early 20s speeding towards one another before attempting to avoid each other at the last moment. [File photo]

Youths in Donegal are driving at high speeds at each other on rural roads in a new craze described by gardaí as "utter madness".

The so-called 'chicken game' involves drivers in their late teens and early 20s speeding towards one another before attempting to avoid each other at the last moment.

The 'winner' of the challenge is the driver deemed to have pulled out of the manoeuvre last.

The motorists involved do not wear seat belts and sometimes carry passengers who film the events.

It is understood a young motorist involved in one of the incidents is due before the courts later this year.

Gardaí and road safety campaigners have expressed serious concern at the dangerous craze.

"This is a very worrying development and the consequences can be horrendous," said Garry Doggett, who runs the Pro-Social Driving Course in counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

Motorists convicted of various offences in the courts are given the option of attending the four-day classroom based courses in return for reduced sentences.

"We are aware of this new so-called craze and it is just crazy. We will be addressing the consequences of what can happen on our course going forward," said Mr Doggett.

The restorative justice solution will be rolled out in Co Mayo later this year.

On the course offenders meet gardaí, ambulance staff and fire officers who have dealt with the aftermath of fatal road traffic collisions.

However, Mr Doggett says he is due to meet insurance company representatives later this month to discuss the possibility of a new course for young motorists who haven't been before the courts.

Less than 2pc of those who have been on his course in Donegal have appeared in court again.

"We get to see the people who have been before the court but I believe we need a new pre-emptive solution and one idea we have is a course that can be taken which would lead to an insurance premium discount for those who take it," he said.

"We have to be able to get to young people before they commit an offence, or worse before they kill someone or kill themselves.

"We are extremely hopeful that the insurance companies will support any initiative which can lead to safer roads for everyone."

Letterkenny-based Gda Insp Goretti Sheridan said her officers are aware of the new craze.

"We are aware of incidents where young people are involved in this so-called game of 'chicken'. There is no other way to describe it than utter madness and we would appeal to young people not to engage in this activity," she said.

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