Photo Caption: The Emergency Services get to work

Rotary Young Persons Driver Awareness Programme

The Just One Life programme emphasises the stark realities and often-tragic results of inappropriate driving behaviours.

More than three hundred pupils from eight secondary schools attended JUST ONE LIFE, a road safety event at Nendrum College, Comber, organised by The Rotary Club of Comber.

Students from Nendrum College, Saintfield HS, St Colman’s HS in Ballynahinch and St Columcille’s HS in Crossgar and four other schools were given stark advice on the dangers and costs of driving by the event’s patron, Dame Mary Peters, members of the PSNI, the Department for Infrastucture and Oakland Insurance.

In a mock crash scene involving a young driver and a cyclist staged by the PSNI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the NI Ambulance Service, three students from Nendrum College played the parts of the young driver, his passenger and the cyclist victim. In the dramatised court case that followed, the driver was charged with a number of offences, and an appropriate sentence was handed down by a judge.

According to Inspector Leech from the PSNI young inexperienced drivers are more at risk than any other age group. “So far this year 12 young lives have been needlessly lost, a figure that is way out of proportion to the number of young drivers as a percentage of the driving population.”

Inspector Leech went on: “The main factors in crashes are over-confidence in your driving ability, leading to excess speed. Also carelessness, the use of mobile phones, and alcohol and drugs, creating feelings of invincibility. Finally, failing to wear seatbelts risks you or your passengers being ejected from the vehicle.”

The inspector also had a stern message for passengers: “Remember: It may be your behaviour that distracts your driver and leads to an accident. You need to speak up if you’re uncomfortable with the driver’s behaviour.”

During Road Safety Week, which runs from 20-26 November, the PSNI’s theme will be SPEED. Inspector Leech advised: “The speed limit is the maximum speed you should be travelling at and it should not be regarded as a target.”

The event concluded with a presentation on the impact of accidents on the costs of insurance and a showing of the Department for Infrastructure’s latest road safety TV films.

Thanks to the Staff of Nendrum College for hosting the event.

Story by: PB

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