Hard-hitting road safety message for young drivers

School pupils watch as paramedics and firefighters work together to safely remove the injured passenger from the car during a live road traffic collision demonstration in Lisburn city centre.
School pupils watch as paramedics and firefighters work together to safely remove the injured passenger from the car during a live road traffic collision demonstration in Lisburn city centre.

In an effort to get young road users to take more care and responsibility on the roads, Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) hosted over 350 students at a hard-hitting demonstration of the devastating effects of road traffic collisions.

Working in collaboration the PSNI Roads Policing Unit, Fire Service and the Ambulance Service, the Road Safety Week event, held in Lisburn city centre on Friday morning, was attended by students from St Patrick’s Academy, Fort Hill College, Wallace High, Lisnagarvey High and South Eastern Regional College.

Pictured with the young actors from St Patrick's Academy and members of the emergency services at the RTC demonstration in Lisburn are elected members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and members of the Lisburn and Castlereagh PCSP.

Pictured with the young actors from St Patrick's Academy and members of the emergency services at the RTC demonstration in Lisburn are elected members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and members of the Lisburn and Castlereagh PCSP.

A car crash simulation was relayed by public address to the audience by both a senior police officer and fire officer and displayed on a large scene in front of the Irish Linen Centre in Market Square.

The crashed car scenario was recreated by the emergency services and featured two young people injured in the crash. The actors in the scenario were two 17 year old students from St Patrick’s Academy, one of whom was ‘arrested’ by police at the scene.

As a poignant reminder of the consequences of dangerous driving, the event was closed by a local funeral undertaker arriving at the scene and removing a body bag.

Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh PCSP, Councillor Aaron McIntyre commented: “Death and injury due to road traffic collisions, particularly of children and young people, is of great concern to us all. Government agencies, local authorities, the police service and road engineers all have a role to play in providing training, education and raising awareness of the risks to people using our roads. The challenge facing us all is to reduce road traffic collisions and the risk of injury by driving with care and attention and with respect to other road users. The number one causation factor for road traffic collisions is speed and only we have control over this. I was encouraged that hundreds of young people had the opportunity to watch this event in Lisburn and would urge everyone to take care whilst using our roads.”

Constable Jacky McDowell of the Road Policing Unit explained: “One of the hardest parts of any police officer’s job is breaking the news of the death or injury of a loved one to relatives. It is especially heart-breaking when the news is of a young person whose life lay ahead. Most traffic collisions could have been avoided and we hope that this event will help young people and more experienced motorists realise the consequences of their actions. We are pleased to be working with our partners to highlight road safety in this way.”

Stephen McDowell, Station Commander at Lisburn Fire Station, commented: “So far this year across Northern Ireland, our firefighters have attended over 600 road traffic collisions and rescued over 400 people trapped in their vehicles. Sadly they witness first-hand the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as a consequence of irresponsible road user behaviour and in particular speed.

“We are all responsible for road safety – we all have a responsibility to ‘Share the Road to Zero’ and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to ease the pain, loss and suffering to individuals, families and communities caused by road traffic collisions.

“The reality for members of the emergency services responding to road traffic collisions is that the faster the speed the bigger the mess. Please slow down – one life lost is one too many.”