Road Safety Initiative Uses Virtual Reality to Give Students Realistic Experience of Road Traffic Collisions

A safety initiative to hammer home the message of the dangers on our roads, providing students with realistic experiences of a serious road traffic collision is now available to be delivered to Secondary schools, Youthreach Centres and clubs in Donegal.

Your Life – Your Choice, promoted by Donegal County Council and the Donegal Road Safety Working Group (DRSWG) of which Donegal ETB is a member, is a road safety virtual reality (VR) programme, aimed at young drivers and passengers in the 16-25 age group who are among the most vulnerable road-users.

The VR units simulate a serious road traffic collision, with the viewer participating in the passenger seat of a VR car. Viewers witness many of the dangerous behaviours and factors associated with young drivers involved in serious collisions, including mobile phone use, speed, stopping distance, distraction, and rural roads. They also witness, from the passenger seat, the immediate aftermath of a serious collision, when the emergency services arrive at the scene of the collision.

Geoffrey Browne, Donegal ETB Chairperson said, “This technology allows every user wearing a headset to experience the stark reality of being trapped in a vehicle and to observe up close the work of the emergency services at the scene of a road traffic collision.  We are reminding young people that they have a choice as to what kind of road user they and their passengers want to be.  Those decisions are vital for their safety and the safety of other road users.

Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer said, “Sadly 16 to 24 year olds, and in particular young men, continue to be over represented in the statistics for those killed or seriously injured on our roads.  This road safety initiative will encourage young people, to behave more responsibly behind the wheel. This modern invention delivers a very clear message effectively and one that remains with the user long after watching the video clip. It is hoped that all students from transition year onwards will eventually be given a chance to try the device”.

Dr Martin Gormley, Director of Schools, Donegal ETB said “This programme will help to engage students in considering the role that they have in preventing deaths and serious injuries on the roads. It is important to raise awareness of road safety issues and we hope that this programme will encourage our young motorists to think about their behaviour and promote safer driving practices.

Schools interested in the programme can contact bodonnel@donegalcoco.ie

Image credit: Ciaran Cunningham
Front Row – Garda Mick Kilcoyne, Roads Policing, Letterkenny; Geoffrey Browne, Chairperson, Donegal ETB; Dr Martin Gormley, Director of Schools, Donegal ETB; Garda Brian McElroy, Roads Policing, Letterkenny. Back Row – Janet McGeever, teacher, Errigal College; Michael Canning, student, Errigal College; Catherine Boyce, studetn, Errigal College and Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer, Donegal County Council.

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