Belfast Telegraph

Ford and Durkan launch unique car crash simulator

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Justice

A specially modified car crash simulator, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, has been launched by Justice Minister David Ford and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

Ballymoney Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), on behalf of Ballymoney, Limavady, Coleraine and Moyle PCSPs, received £35,000 from the Department of Justice’s Asset Recovery Community Scheme, to design and build a car crash simulator to help address inconsiderate and dangerous driving by young people in the area. The project is called ‘2 Fast 2 Soon’.

The simulator, a modified Peugeot 207, will start with a car journey on a typical Northern Ireland rural road. Through its high quality sound system, hydraulics, DVD player and smoke and light system, young drivers get to experience being in a crash and learn about the devastating consequences of driving irresponsibly including the potential for injury and death. 

The PSNI will take the car to 21 post-primary schools in the PCSP areas to educate young drivers about road safety.

Speaking at the launch of the simulator at the Joey Dunlop Centre in Ballymoney, Justice Minister David Ford said: “PCSPs have a key role to play in engaging with local communities, to identify issues of local concern and in developing actions to help address these concerns.

“This innovative project is an excellent example of how the PCSPs involved are delivering for their local communities.

“By driving dangerously and irresponsibly not only are young people putting their lives at risk but their actions often intimidate and frighten others; this type of anti-social behaviour leads to a real fear within communities.

“My Department has been able to support the development of this impressive car simulator through money seized from criminals. It is good to see this money being put to such positive use. 

“I hope that the young people who experience this simulator will learn about what happens when they don’t take care on the roads and will change their behaviour. My message to them today is to respect their community and not let their actions of driving too fast, end their lives, too soon.”

Around 100 young people attended the launch where they also had the opportunity to experience the effects of alcohol when driving by wearing ‘beer goggles’ while trying to navigate a Segway. The NI Fire and Rescue Service, the PSNI and Ambulance Service also had a road traffic collision rescue demonstration at the event to show the devastating nature of a collision.

Minister Mark H Durkan of the Department of the Environment said: “I welcome this imaginative initiative, which will highlight to young drivers the devastating impacts and consequences of dangerous and irresponsible driving. Young drivers are vastly overrepresented when it comes to deaths and serious injuries on our roads. In fact young men are four times more likely to be killed and seven times more likely to be the driver who kills when involved in a fatal road traffic collision. Every death on our roads is one death too many. For that reason my Department launched the Share the Road to Zero earlier this year. The '2 Fast 2 Soon' initiative fits well with our efforts as a community to work towards zero deaths on our roads.” 

On behalf of all four PCSPs involved, Michael McCafferty from Ballymoney PCSP said: “We are very proud of this project which we hope will deliver a hard hitting message to our target group. This will be a very proactive initiative. As well as the schools element of the project, we will also be visiting known congregation spots where drivers are known to hang out. We also take the simulator to other events including The North West 200, the Race of Legends, Stock Cars events and Diffing Events.

“The PCSPs would like to thank all those involved in developing this project, especially the PSNI, who will deliver an extensive part of the programme due to their extensive expertise and knowledge in this area.” 

Notes to editors:

1. The DOJ Asset Recovery Community Scheme distributes money to a range of projects aimed at addressing crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. The money come from assets seized from criminals. 

2. More information on PCSPs can be found at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/community-safety

3. More information on the Share the Road to Zero campaign can be found at https://www.sharetheroadtozero.com/

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