Belfast Telegraph

Graphic road safety advert leaves school pupils aghast

By John Mulgrew

The latest road safety campaign from the Department of the Environment (DoE) was aired for the first time last night after a screening in front of schoolchildren in Belfast yesterday.

With a typically graphic depiction of horrific road deaths — as with previous advertisements — the latest post-watershed safety campaign features a long build-up, highlighting the potential dangers that pedestrians face on the roads.

And, as with previous hard-hitting advertising campaigns, it ends in horror — an elderly man struck at high speed by a family saloon, thrown into the air and landing in a lifeless pile in the road.

Schoolchildren — each at least 15 years old — watched on yesterday, shielding their eyes at the moment of impact.

Aimed at educating both drivers and pedestrians, it’s hoped the shocking image will leave a lasting impression.

In designing the striking film, research revealed that pedestrians and drivers “live in two separate worlds”, each with little regard for the problems the other might face.

There have been seven road deaths this month alone — almost the same number as in the previous four months of the year — two of which have been pedestrians.

Around one in five people killed on Northern Ireland’s roads are pedestrians. DoE research has also shown that almost three-quarters of pedestrian deaths were due to their own error, with drivers responsible for the remainder. The latest campaign aims at speaking to both groups.

Attending the launch, one of the ad’s creators, Robert Lyle, said that it was important the film was “shocking”.

Mr Lyle — whose own daughter was paralysed in a hit-and-run in 2001 — said: “I’m very conscious because of my own life, but also (because of) the people and the victims we met in the research, how many lives have been so deeply traumatised by tragedy.”

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said that the advertisement was aimed at everyone, from the very young to the very old.

“Road tragedy does not discriminate — the reality is that all pedestrians are fragile and this is reflected in the new campaign,” he added.

Figures released earlier this month showed that road deaths were now at their lowest level since records began in 1931.

In the last financial year, 52 people died on the roads — 806 were seriously injured.

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Between 1998 and 2011, 360 pedestrians were killed and 3,073 people suffered life-changing serious injuries as a result of being struck by vehicles. During that period, pedestrians accounted for around a fifth of all road deaths.

Last night the latest shock-tactic advertising campaign aimed at preventing road deaths was aired following a screening in front of schoolchildren at a Belfast cinema.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph