Belfast Telegraph

Attwood launches road safety education initiatives in schools

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister Alex Attwood today launched DOE’s new and innovative road safety teaching resource for schools.

The resources comprise of two education packs produced for post-primary schools; each of which contains a DVD, a worksheet and teacher’s notes. The packs will allow for the continued delivery of the road safety message by professional teaching staff in a regular structured way through the curriculum.

Mr Attwood said: “Educating the public and influencing attitudes and behaviours towards road safety is vital, and the first step towards achieving this is to instil good road user attitudes and behaviours in young people. What is learnt and put into practice at a young age forms the basis of behaviour in later life.”

The first pack entitled ‘Respect Everyone’s Journey’ is based on the DOE’s current pedestrian campaign, which addresses pedestrian vulnerability. The pack has been developed to be delivered by teachers in schools and is aimed at young people between the ages of 11 and 14.

The pack portrays the scenes from the DOE’s pedestrian TV campaign and contains new footage exploring the right and wrong actions portrayed in each scene, includes Highway Code advice and allows for classroom discussion lead by a teaching professional.

Mr Attwood said: “The continuation of pedestrian deaths makes the issue of this education pack to schools timely and I very much hope it has real influence amongst younger pedestrians and also those who are thinking about learning to drive in the future.”

The second pack entitled ‘Crashed Futures’ is based on the recent ‘Cashed Lives’ television campaign and is aimed at young people between the ages of 15-18. The content is based on true events, with real-life accounts telling of the devastating consequences the wrong choice can bring when using the roads.

Individuals recount four of the events of collision on our roads from their perspective. Two poignant accounts show the ultimate price paid by young people who made bad choices and failed to take account of the rules of the road. The main aspect of the pack is that it provides information in hard facts and goes deeper into the effects of the collision showing the loss felt by family, friends and community.

Continuing Mr Attwood said: “Our task is to get all road users, particularly young people, to think through the consequences of every decision and to take personal responsibility for every action.While the DVD can be uncomfortable to watch, it shows the truth about the dangers of using the roads and the responsibilities all road users need to be aware of.

Both new teaching resources have been extensively piloted in schools throughout Northern Ireland, receiving very favourable feedback. The education packs are now being provided to every post-primary school in Northern Ireland by DOE.

Mr Attwood also launched the Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards at Movilla High School. The aim of the Awards is to encourage students from schools, colleges and youth groups across the UK to create unique road safety projects which are suitable for their age group and area. The culmination of the awards is a competition final in London where the winning project will then be submitted to the Department of Transport for consideration as a road safety campaign.

Movilla High School Year 11 students have entered the Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards in Northern Ireland and they have chosen pedestrian safety as the subject of their project and specifically the issue of children ‘playing chicken’ on the road.

The students have designed an advert for bus rears which seeks to inform children that roads are too dangerous to play on and that the consequences can be deadly.

Mr Attwood added: “I fully support this project and wish Movilla High School every success in the Peugeot Student Road Safety Awards competition. I expect that these resources and initiatives in the school community will contribute to further reducing deaths and injuries on our roads.

Notes to editors:

1. So far this year, 25 people have died on Northern Ireland’s roads, five of them pedestrians.

2. The pedestrian education pack which carries the message “Respect Everyone’s Journey” underlines both driver and pedestrian fault in respect of pedestrian vulnerability. The advice is that drivers need to be vigilant of pedestrians and respect their right to use the road. Pedestrians themselves need to take sensible precautions like wearing conspicuous clothing and crossing the road at appropriate places, including using pedestrian crossings. The DOE’s campaign can be viewed on www.nidirect.gov.uk/respect-my-journey

3. The ‘Crashed Futures’ pack shows and explains the aftermath of a collision and the effect that this has on the officers from PSNI and Fire and Rescue Service. A further two incidents show the impact that life altering injuries have on road users who failed to follow the rules of the road and the impact this has on their futures and their families. The DOE’s television campaigns on which this is based can be viewed at www.crashedlives.com

4. PSNI road traffic casualty data shows that over the last five years from 2007-2011 69% of pedestrian deaths were due to pedestrian error and drivers were responsible for 27%% of pedestrian deaths. Other factors have also contributed to pedestrian deaths.

5. The principal factor in 29% of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries was pedestrians being heedless of traffic. Pedestrians who had consumed alcohol or drugs accounted for 12% of pedestrian casualties.

6. The main causes of road deaths and serious injuries continue to be speeding, drink or drug driving and driver carelessness / inattention.

7. Movilla High School have issued a press release on the Peugeot Road Safety Awards

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