Mayo County Council and Irish Advanced Motorists ( IAM) launch safer driving initiative.
Mayo County Council and Irish Advanced Motorists (IAM) Launch Safer Driving Initiative
Mayo County Council in association with Irish Advanced Motorists (IAM), Ireland’s leading advanced driving organisation, today (Saturday 18th February) announced details of an initiative to promote Safer Driving in the Mayo region. The initiative involves the support of well known local individuals such as Rose of Tralee 2005 Aoibhínn Ní Shúilleabháin, the Mayo Rose.
Details of the Fast Track Advanced Driving programme and the individuals’ participation were announced today at the launch in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
In a bid to support the programme and highlight its importance last year’s Rose of Tralee teams up with Fair City Actor Seamus Moran, Tommy Marren of Mid West Radio, Henry Kenny of Mayo County Council and Maria Mularkey, RTE Cork.
According to Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council “Most of us travel the roads everyday, driving may seem routine but it be very dangerous, last year road accidents alone cost over 400 lives. Most accidents can be prevented if you approach driving with a proper attitude, good driving skills and a well maintained vehicle. Safe driving needs to start before you even get behind the wheel with proper training”
“I am delighted to take part in the IAM Fast Track Programme and strongly urge others to do the same. I believe being a good driver is as much about attitude and awareness, as it is about being able to manoeuvre a vehicle.” said Maria Mularkey of RTE.
“I am really looking forward to commencing my training & hopefully successfully completing the IAM Advanced Driving Test” said Tommy Marren of Mid West Radio.
The Fast Track Programme is delivered on a 2:1 delegate to trainer ratio and takes place over the course of two half day sessions, followed by the Test. All modules are usually a few weeks apart to allow participants to hone their new driving skills. The price of the Fast Track Programme is €275.00. The IAM is a registered charity the overall aim of which is to make a general contribution to road safety.
For further information on any aspect of road safety or to apply for a place on The Fast Track Advanced Driving Programme, contact IAM at (056) 777 1778 or visit the website at www.irishadvancedmotorists.ie
Mayo Motor Club Launches Road Safety Awareness Campaign
Mayo & District Motorsport Club, organising club of the 2007 TF Royal Hotel & Theatre Mayo Stages Rally has launched a major new road safety initiative in conjunction with the local Authority, Mayo County Council.
Using the slogan ‘Ease off the pace – everyday driving isn’t a race’ the club is hoping to get the message across to the many thousands of spectators who attend the popular season opening rally, that speeding should be left to competitors on the special stages.
This is the first time that a motor club has actively worked with a local council to promote a road safety campaign of this kind.
Officially launching the campaign, leader of the Fine Gael party Enda Kenny T.D. spoke about the ongoing carnage on our roads, and complemented Mayo & District Motorsport Club and Mayo County Council Road Safety for taking this significant initiative.
Vice-Chairman of Motorsport Ireland, Joe Corcoran said he was delighted to see the Mayo club launch this campaign, and hoped that other clubs would follow the example and promote similar messages.
Leading national rally competitor Aaron MacHale is also a board member of the Road Safety Authority, and said it was very important to get the message across to spectators that they should not try to emulate what they saw on the rally stages.
Visitors to Mayo in early March will be greeted by large notice boards displayed at prominent locations throughout the county which will focus on the message for all road-users to drive with care and enjoy the rally. In addition, extensive campaigns in local papers and radio and in the specialist motorsport media will reiterate the message in the run up to, and during the rally week-end.
The campaign is being run with the support of Mayo County Council’s Road Safety Office. Mayo County Council was the first authority in Ireland to establish a department dedicated specifically to address road safety. Speaking at the launch, Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons thanked Mayo & District Motorsport Club for the opportunity to cooperate on this historic initiative, noting that it was especially pertinent bearing in mind the large number of young people who follow the sport.
Chairman of Mayo & District Motorsport Club, Sean McHugh, thanked Mayo County Council for supporting this initiative and said that the motorsport community had a great opportunity to get the message across that there was no place for speeding on public roads Sean called for the development of off-road centres that would allow young drivers to practice their driving skills in a safe environment.
The TF Royal Hotel & Theatre Mayo Stages Rally takes places on March 11th 2007. It is the opening rounds of both the Dunlop National Rally Championship and the McAree Engineering Border Rally Championship. The event is headquartered at the TF Royal Hotel & Theatre, Castlebar.
Mayo CountyCouncil is sending out a Valentine message with a difference in the form of a hard-hitting road safety campaign, aimed at young drivers. Referred to as 'For my girlfriend' the publicity campaign includes magazine adverts, valentine cards and drink mats, in an attempt to highlight road safety to young people.
The campaign is in response to recent studies carried out into attitudes among young drivers (aged between 17 - 25) focusing on driving, speed, and road safety. The study showed that drivers in this age group showed little or no sense of their own mortality and simply do not believe that they can be killed or injured in a car crash.
The Valentine card contains an emotionally powerful combination of words and pictures. The front cover carries an image of a single stem red rose and the immortal phrase 'for my Valentine'. The inside illustrates the devastation of a high speed crash, and a heartfelt hand written note from a heartbroken and grieving boyfriend which says: 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to kill you. I was driving too fast. I really miss you x'.
This controversial and thought-provoking approach has already proved successful in the eastern region of the UK and has since been used by local authorities across England.
The cards will be distributed amongst educational establishments, and major employers to reach its target audience. Though shocking and an uncomfortable concept, young drivers have confessed that the impact of the campaign and its implications had made them think twice about speed and road safety.
Young drivers are notoriously difficult to connect with about road safety, yet they are the age group most likely to have an accident, caused by speed, and the most likely age group to be involved in road crashes that leave people dead and seriously injured.
MAJOR Mayo SAFETY CAMPAIGN WILL highlight ILLEGAL AND BADLY WORN TYRES and defective lights.
Checks will Reinforce Safety Message
Defective and badly worn tyres will be the focus of a major road safety awareness campaign being mounted by Mayo County Council and the tyre industry in Mayo in October. The Mayo Safety Check Campaign is being organised in association with MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL , An Garda Siochana and the tyre industry. Motorists found to have a defective tyre - having a tread depth below 1.6mm – will be informed they are below the legal limit and endangering their lives and the lives of others .
The message of the campaign, which is being endorsed by all major tyre companies and tyre retailers in Mayo, is that tyres are a vital component - in fact, the only contact with the road surface - often neglected and badly treated and only occasionally checked and we want to get motorists into the routine of a daily safety check on theirs cars.
Motorists will be able to call into 23 centres and can take advantage of free safety checks at participating retailers in Mayo. The safety checks will start on the 16th October and will be run throughout the province . Motorists should ensure that their tyres have adequate tread depth and are correctly inflated.
There will be a visual check carried out on
· Mirrors for all round visibility
· Windscreen washers and wipers
· Lights and horn (in working order ?)
· Tyres (Damage, Slow punctures, wear, tread Dept 1.6mm )
· Tool kit ( Is there one present ? Do you have a warning Triangle)
· Seat belts
· House Keeping ( clean and tidy vehicle)
Supported by Mayo News, Connaught Telegraph, Western people, Mid-West Radio, Berry printers , An Garda Siochana , Irish tyre industry and Mayo County Council
Pupils at a Co. Mayo secondary school where not one pupil cycles to school have been urged to get back on their bikes - and the initiative has been hailed by healthy living experts and road safety campaigners.
Over 440 pupils at Ballinrobe Community School have been invited to cycle to school this week in a special promotion aimed at unclogging the streets of the town.
"When we opened the school in 1990, we had about 40 students cycling to school every day. Now not one pupil cycles on a regular basis, which is a huge change in a short space of time," said Principal Louis O'Malley.
Bike-to-School Week is the brainchild of Mayo Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons, and over the last two days over 20 children have gone back on the saddle. "The idea is to reduce the number of cars on the road which would play a big part in reducing the carnage we are witnessing on roads all over Ireland," said Mr Gibbons, a keen cyclist.
"Also, we would like to show children the benefit of cycling as a healthy activity. Many children are dropped to school by their parents and they could really cycle instead."
The scheme has been welcomed by Health Service Executive official Lisa
McGeehan. ". Regular physical activity, such as cycling a bicycle safely,
improves childrens' mental health and contributes to their growth and development. It results in increased self-esteem and perceived physical competence which are necessary variables that enable children to cope with mental stress," she said.
One teacher - Paddy Fahy - has set the tone by getting back on his bike for a 32-mile round trip to school every day this week. "Hopefully, this will result in more children cycling every day in the future," said Mr O'Malley.
All who cycle will be entered in a free draw.
One thousand Mayo football fans flocking to Croke Park yesterday (SUNDAY) were given free flags in their beloved green and red – and all they were asked to do in return was drive safely.
Mayo County Council’s road safety department distributed the car flags bearing the message ‘Drive to Arrive Alive’ at a popular ‘halfway house’ for Mayo followers on route to Dublin.
“The idea was to use a major event like Mayo versus Laois match to hammer home the message about road safety. The match involved thousands of people leaving the county, and we set up an information stand to give out information on penalty points and other road tips to people who stopped off at Feerick’s Halfway House, Rathowen, Co. Westmeath,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council.
Coca-Cola rowed in with bottles of their sports drink Powerade for designated drivers.
“Every road user has a role to play in reducing the number of deaths on our roads,” added Mr Gibbons
Young car-owners in the west of Ireland are to have their safe driving skills put to the test in a special road safety event at one of the region’s leading racecourses.
Mayo County Council hope the Driver’s Challenge event at Ballinrobe Racecourse will alert young motorists to the need to drive safely.
“Drivers will be tested on their reaction times, how they handle an obstacle course, and how they maintain their car with special emphasis on ensuring that the car is safe and sound for the road,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council, who is behind the initiative on Sunday, July 15th.
At the event – supported by Auto Trader magazine – the young motorists will also hear tales of roadside tragedies from members of the emergency services in Co. Mayo.
“Young drivers are particularly vulnerable on the road, and we want this event to make them aware of the dangers out there, and to encourage them to slow down and drive safely,” added Mr Gibbons.
To cater for the considerable number of young people who have an interest in motor-sports, a number of motor-related companies will display Formula 2, Drift, Sports, Performance, and Modified cars on the day.
Drivers can enter the challenge by logging onto www.autotrader.ie.
“At Auto Trader we realise the popularity of our magazine among younger drivers. We are delighted to be able to assist in this effort to combat fatalities on our roads,” said Gareth Flood of Auto-Trader.
Bank Holiday weekend clubbers in Co. Mayo this Bank Holiday Weekend will round off their night with a powerful message to drive safely.
Two leading night clubs in Castlebar and Westport will play graphic Road Safety Authority adverts on giant screens before the young revellers leave for home.
“We want to reinforce to young people who are out enjoying their Bank Holiday Weekend that they must drive safely on the roads, or else their lives, not just their weekends, could be ruined,” said Noel Gibbons, Mayo County Council’s road safety officer who is rolling out the Road Safety Authority ‘Just One Drink’ campaign in Mayo.
“Unfortunately the lives of many young people are lost in the wee small hours of the weekend, when they are returning home after socialising. The adverts will hopefully give them a strong road safety message just when they are about to set out on the road for home.
“We hope this will help to reduce the number of late-night accidents that cause so much pain and loss for families.”
The participating night clubs are the Castlecourt Hotel, Westport, and the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar.
Two of Co. Mayo’s leading sportspeople have endorsed a Christmas road safety campaign that will see designated drivers receive two free cans of Red Bull on a night out, plus a wristband denoting them as a ‘Lifesaver.’
Gaelic football stars Alan Dillon and Cora Staunton have backed a Mayo County Council initiative to reduce road deaths in the county this Christmas.
“We are delighted that Cora and Alan have thrown their weight behind this campaign, because we badly want to get the message out to people of all ages that it is dangerous to drive with drink on them, or while they are feeling tired,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council.
According to Mr Gibbons, driving while tired is a major contributory to road accidents and the Lifesaver campaign – supported by Red Bull – aims to raise awareness of the “potentially deadly consequences of dozing off at the wheel.”
He added: People often nod off when not intending to – while sitting on the couch watching TV, during a long meeting, or reading a book or newspaper. No great harm is done if this happens.
“But if it happens while driving, even for a couple of seconds, the car is out of control. At high speed, a crash is likely with a high risk of death or severe injury. If a driver falls asleep for just four seconds while travelling at a speed of 100 km/h the car will have gone 111 metres without a driver in control.
“That illustrates just how dangerous driving while tired is.”
Designated drivers will be given two free Red Bulls in participating pubs and clubs throughout Mayo, and Mr Gibbons hopes that locals will wear the ‘Lifesaver’ wristband as “a statement of support for the campaign at a time of the year when the joy of Christmas is destroyed for some families by serious road accidents.”
Mums-to-be will get more than labour tips when they turn up for ante-natal classes in Co. Mayo – the local council wants them to play their part in reducing road deaths.
Over 1400 children are born in Mayo each year, and now the county council and the National Safety Council are giving all parents a DVD on in-car safety when they turn up for ante-natal classes.
“The greatest risk a child is exposed to on a daily basis is when travelling as a passenger in a car. The DVD shows the safest way of transporting children in cars,” said the council’s Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons, who has also secured the support of Mayo General Hospital, where the ante-natal classes take place.
“Every year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes all over Ireland. Parents can prevent this from happening by always using car safety seats and seat belts correctly.”
The DVD – jointly produced by the National Safety Council and Opel – says parents should “always set a good example by wearing a seat belt themselves,” and it also emphasises that the back-seat is the safest place for children to travel.
“The idea of giving out the DVD at ante-natal classes is an excellent one as it alerts people to the fact that safety is an issue for people of all ages, even baby children,” said Brian Farrell of the National Safety Council.
As broadcaster Gay Byrne sets about tackling Ireland’s roads death crisis, a leading supermarket chain have come up with a novel way of making the roads safer.
Super-Valu have teamed up with Mayo County Council to provide thousands of high-visibility jackets at cost price pedestrians and cyclists.
“We want to play our part in reducing road deaths, and the hi-viz jackets are on sale at €2.99 at our stores in the major towns of Mayo – Westport, Castlebar, Claremorris, Ballyhaunis, Balinrobe, Ballina, Achill and Kiltimagh,” said Peter Minihane of Super-Valu.
The jackets have been supplied at a discount price by Mayo company PortWest, and Mayo Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons has urged members of the public to buy the jackets.
“Be safe, be seen, is the motto. Now that the temperatures are starting to rise, more people will be out walking and cycling, and it is vital that they are seen,” he said.
Last year 15 people were killed on the roads of Mayo.
Clerics in Co. Mayo will this weekend bless the county’s roads in a novel ceremony aimed at reducing the number of people who die in traffic accidents each year.
A special ‘Blessing of the Roads Ceremony’ will take place during Masses and Services throughout the county on Easter Sunday as religious leaders back the campaign to make the roads safer.
The ceremony, which will place at all Catholic and Church of Ireland churches on Sunday next, is the brainchild of Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
“The Blessing of the Roads Ceremony takes places in parts of Australia each year to raise local awareness of road safety, and we are bringing it to Mayo this year,” said Mr Gibbons, who added that 15 people were killed on Mayo’s roads last year. The total so far this year is two.
He added: “The community makes improved road safety a goal in an effort to ensure that the grief associated with loss of life, or serious injury, does not come to them.
“This is the first year we have done the Blessing of the Roads Ceremony in Co. Mayo and we have got a very enthusiastic response. There are still too many drivers under the impression that an accident won’t happen to them.
“The trauma of road crashes to families and communities is devastating. A major focus of the campaign is to promote the issue of driver fatigue, drink-driving and speeding, as well as praying for the safety of not only all road users, but our Gardai and emergency services.”
Tuam archdiocese spokesperson Fr Fintan Monaghan said the church was “fully behind the campaign. We all need to play our part to reduce the number of road deaths.”
The proposed prayer is a variation on this old Irish blessing:
A new motorcyclists training scheme operated by Mayo County Council will help to save lives, according to AA Roadwatch.
The scheme, which will be launched in Castlebar today (FRIDAY), represents the first time a local authority outside Dublin has run a training course for motorcyclists, who are six times more likely to be killed on the country’s roads than car users.
“Motorcyclists are responsible road users, but the plain fact is that they are far more vulnerable on our roads. Proper, professional training can help to reduce that risk, and the scheme by Mayo County Council has the potential to save lives,” said Conor Faughnan of AA Roadwatch.
Motorbikes make up less than two per cent of licenced vehicles, but bikers account for at least 12% of road deaths. “The course involves 12 hours of training for motorbikers from accredited trainers, and we hope it will lead to safer roads for all,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council.“About 83 per cent of motorcyclists have never completd a professional rider training course, and we want to address that issue here in Mayo.”
Law-breaking motorists in Co. Mayo are to be sent back to school to improve their driving skills, in a bid to make the county’s roads safer.
Judge Mary Devins has agreed that she will consider referring drivers who commit specific offences to a new Driver Improvement Programme run by the county council.
It is expected the discretionary referrals will start early in the New Year and will also feature motorists who were involved in crashes.
“Last year, 13 people died on the roads in Mayo, and already this year 14 have been killed. We are trying to reduce the figure and also to bring down the amount of crashes that don’t result in fatalities,” said Noel Gibbons Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
“The aim of the programme is to improve driving skills, attitude and behaviour, and therefore reduce the likelihood of the drivers being involved in accidents or committing motoring offences in the future.”
The cost of the training will be borne by the offenders, and Gardai have welcomed the scheme.
Motorists travelling to Co.. Mayo this weekend for the world-famous Reek Sunday pilgrimage have been warned to take good care on the roads – and Mayo County Council are using the occasion to hammer home the message of road safety.
“Huge numbers travel to Murrisk to climb Croagh Patrick each Reek Sunday, and we will be running a major road safety awareness campaign on the day,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
“We will be distributing about 3,000 high visibility vests which are crucial items for pedestrians walking at night, or motorists who have to stop their car in the event of a breakdown.
“Leaflets on road safety will also be distributed, and children will be given footballs with special road safety messages on them. Our aim is to avail of this major event to bring the message of road safety to the people.
“The Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev. Michael Neary, and An Garda Siochana are backing the campaign. We will also be distributing information on the penalty points system.”
Mayo County Council has invited members of the public to contact them with suggestions for improving safety on the county’s road – suggestions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or posted to Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo County Council, The Mall, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Flashing signs urging motorists to slow down will be displayed at key vantage points on routes to Croagh Patrick. “We would ask people to drive slowly as this is a very busy weekend on our roads,” added Mr Gibbons.
A major campaign is underway to urge drivers in Mayo and Donegal to show consideration for other road-users, including cyclists and walkers.
A total of 10,000 car stickers with the simple message ‘Share the Road’ will be distributed in the two counties over the next fortnight to coincide with the annual FBD Insurance Ras, which will see a large field of international cyclists ride through Mayo and Donegal.
“Our message is that all road users should respect each other on the road. Already this year, 34 pedestrians have been killed on Ireland’s roads, and four cyclists, and we are trying to reduce those figures,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
The stickers will be distributed to schools along the route of the Ras when it visits Mayo and Donegal, after departing from Naas on Sunday next.
“We will also be distributing stickers to An Garda Siochana, Health Service Executive, and the fire and ambulance services, as well as to groups involved in promoting walking and cycling in Donegal,” said Eamon Browne, Road Safety Officer of Donegal County Council.
“Donegal County Council and leading UK cycle route promoters Sustrans have recently teamed up to extend the Sustrans network from Northern Ireland into Donegal. This will mean an increase in the number of cyclists on our roads and we want them to have an enjoyable experience.”
The stickers will also be displayed by all the support vehicles in the Ras, which finishes in Dublin on Sunday week, May 27th.
A special appeal has been made to drivers in Co. ‘keep your hands free for safe driving’ this Bank Holiday Weekend – and so they have been asked to put down their mobile phones, cups of coffee, make-up, and shaving machines while they’re behind the wheel.
Mayo County Council have teamed up with An Garda Siochana, the Health Service Executive and Axa Insurance to declare this a ‘hands free’ weekend in the county, in a bid to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
“We are using this weekend to emphasise once again to drivers that driving requires their full attention. You cannot concentrate properly on the road if you are doing other things. And you get four penalty pints and a €2000 fine if it goes to court,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
Gardai in Mayo are to mount extra checkpoints in the county over the weekend.
S a f e D r i v i n g T i p s Tw o - S e c o n d R u l e
There are situations where you need more space between you and the vehicle in
front of you.
• On wet roads - You will need more distance to stop when traction is reduced.
• When the driver behind you wants to pass - Slow down to allow room for the
passing car to pull in.
• When following a motorcycle – You will need extra distance to avoid the driver
if a motorcycle should fall.
• When you are following a driver who cannot see you – The driver may stop
suddenly without knowing you are behind them.
• When you have a heavy load - The extra weight will increase the time it takes
• When it is hard for you to see - Bad weather or darkness may affect your ability
to see a vehicle stopping in front of you.
• When being followed closely - More distance ahead of you will allow you to
stop more slowly without being hit from behind.
• When approaching railroad crossings – leave extra room behind vehicles that
are required to stop at railroad crossings like buses and trucks carrying hazardous
• When stopped on a hill or incline – The vehicle ahead may roll back when it
- drive defensively-show concern for other road users and be aware of what
is going on around you.
- avoid becoming distracted while driving.
- observe the rules of the road and do not rush yourself.
Don't drive recklessly! All of us have the responsibility to be safe drivers.
From Road Safety Mayo County Council .
"Driving too close to vehicle in front" is a contributory factor of traffic
accidents in Ireland.
While you are driving you should observe all speed limit signs and to
apply the two- second rule, i.e. to stay at a safe distance behind the vehicle
in front. You will be able to stop the vehicle safely and will have more time
to react, if the vehicle in front suddenly slows down or stops.When you
apply the two-second rule, you should select a fixed object on the road
ahead such as a road sign, tree or street lamp, etc. When the vehicle ahead
of you passes the selected object, start to count "One Thousand and One,
One Thousand and Two". You should not reach the selected object before
you count "One Thousand and Two". If you do, you are driving too close.
When the traffic is busy, you should never drive so fast that you could not
stop well within the distance between your car and the car in front. Your
speed should be adjusted according to the change of the weather and
traffic conditions and should match the flow of traffic.
Baxter Healthcare Pledges Support for Major Mayo Road Safety Campaign
Baxter Healthcare has partnered with Mayo County Council to support the ‘Major Mayo Road Safety Campaign’ which gets underway this week across the county.
Details of Baxter’s support were announced at a launch event at Baxter Castlebar today (Monday) which was attended by Superintendent J.P. Quirke and members of the Road Traffic Corps, Chris Regan, Clinical Nurse Manager, Accident & Emergency at the HSE Castlebar, Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, Mayo Co Council and Caitriona Gannon, Environmental, Health & Safety Manager and Pat Gallagher, Plant Manager at Baxter.
The ‘Major Mayo Road Safety Campaign’ focuses primarily on two road safety aspects – defective and badly worn tyres and the wearing of high visibility clothing. During the campaign motorists will be able to avail of free ‘health checks’ on their vehicles at 21 centres throughout the county and High Viz Vests will be available to purchase at cost price at a range of outlets during the campaign.
Speaking at the launch, Noel Gibbons thanked Baxter for their great support for the campaign.
“Road safety is a top priority for everybody in the county. We are all heartbroken by the tragedies that have been suffered in recent times and we want to bring an end to road injuries and loss of life. Support from big companies like Baxter will drive awareness of this campaign and give it force and momentum so I commend all involved,” he added.
Baxter employs over 1,200 people at two plants in Castlebar and Swinford. As part of their involvement in the campaign, each employee will be presented with a free-of- charge High Viz Vest to help keep them safe during the forthcoming winter months.
Derrywash students aim to save lives on Mayo’s roads
The pupils of Derrywash National School must have felt like stars last week with RTE filming at the small county school outside Castlebar, Tommy Fleming stopping in, the Gardaí been represented in force and MidWest Radio broadcasting from the classroom.
But if their six simple steps to stop the carnage on the country’s roads prove to be helpful then they will be heroes saving families from heartache each year.
After weeks of experiments and discussions the results of the schools Stop the Carnage campaign was launched at the school on Tuesday, November 28.
The student came up with six simple but effective recommendations to cut down on the number of deaths on the Country’s road, which reach hundreds each year.
The recommendations include the reintroduction of the Safe Cross Code, the provision of a reflective vest for every school going child, the implementation of a stan-dardised cycling programme in all primary schools and the introduction of law to make wearing a cycling helmet compulsory.
“Our School was fortunate to have been the inaugural school in Mayo to avail of the Council’s Cycling Proficiency Programme. However, they are not available free to schools nationally and no standardised national programme exists.
Our research shows substantial deaths and injuries to young cyclists. Other countries have implemented mandatory wearing of cycle helmets and have seen a corresponding drop in head injuries as a result of cycling accidents,” pointed out School Principal Sharon Dunleavy.
A compulsory road safety question on the CPSE paper in the Junior Cert exams paper and rules for sports companies to have reflective strips or letting on jerseys and clothing made up the final two recommendations.
“From the start of the project it was evident that much more could be done regarding safety strategies for young people. It is more than 30 years since the National “Safe Cross Code” campaign was introduced into schools and was supposed by national television and radio at the time,” noted Ms Dunleavy
The campaign came about after a high level of road accidents, injuries and deaths involving young people not much older than the Derry-wash students. After another year, which has left hundreds of families without loved ones due to road accidents the fifth and sixth class pupils of Derrywash NS decided to try and help save families from heartache.
In early November 20 young pupils closed the road two miles from Castlebar carrying out experiments.
One car, driven by a parent, was used during the experiment. Dressed in reflective gear the students gauges sight distances from a driver point of view with the car involved stopping as soon as the driver spotted the students who were either walking or on bikes.
The school is appealing to the Government to implement their recommendations in a blue print for road safety.
“We believe that the implementation of these recommendations will make a positive contribution to safer Irish roads for all our citizens, young and old,” noted Ms Dunleavy.
Castlebar Deputy Beverley Flynn is backing the school’s recommendations.
“When children are taught to respect road safety it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Speaking on the findings of the Stop the Carnage campaign Ms Flynn insists that the survey shows that we may be missing out on one of the most effective methods of raising the level of awareness of road safety.
“By starting in the classroom, I believe that we will be laying the foundation for a new attitude to road safety for generations to come.”
Fittingly the children erected a Christmas tree with 325 lights, a light for each life lost on the country’s roads this year.
Road-users in Mayo have been told to drive safely – in ten different languages.
A new screen-saver produced by Mayo County Council will flash the road safety message in internet cafes, libraries, schools, and computer shops around the county.
“Slow down – stop the carnage” is the English version of the message, and it is also published in Arabic, Chinese, French, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian.
“We decided to produce the screen-saver in the ten languages to reach as wide an audience as possible. There is a large population of non-Nationals here in Co. Mayo and this is an effort to reach them with a message to stop the carnage,” said Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer of Mayo County Council.
Thousands of copies of the screen-saver are being distributed around the county and are also available from Mayo County Council.
Leaving Cert students from Co. Mayo receiving their results will get something extra – a message urging them to drive safely.
A road safety message will be included with their results informing them of the dangers they face on Irish roads
“After the stress and tension of the June exams it is perfectly understandable that young people will want to celebrate and let off some steam,” he said.
“But we want young people to be aware of the dangers in cars and not to put themselves or their friends at risk, especially when it comes to travelling to venues to celebrate.”
The leaflet carries statistical information about the implications of speeding and the likelihood of accidents among the 17 – 25 year-old age group.
“We are also encouraging parents to stress the dangers of speed and drink driving to their teenage children, let this be a joyous occasion and not a memorable occasion for all the wrong reasons,” added Mr Gibbons.This campaign is supported by AXA insurance.
Elderly people from all across Co. Mayo will lead the way on road safety next week after they were presented with high visibility vests for Positive Ageing Week.
Noel Gibbons, Mayo County Council’s Road Safety Officer has sent out the life saving vests to 20 active retirement groups in the county to highlight road safety during Positive Ageing Week.
The official launch of Positive Ageing Week Castlebar takes place on Friday, September 28th at Lough Lannagh Village Centre.
“I decided to send out the high visibility vests to all the active retirement groups to make sure they safe on our roads. It is of huge importance that everybody is safe and seen, and the elderly can be particularly vulnerable,” said Mr Gibbons, who is supported by Age Action Ireland and Active Retirement Ireland in his initiative.
Eamonn Timmons of Age Action Ireland said, “I think this is a great idea and I urge anyone who gets the vests to wear them. Twenty-five per cent of pedestrians killed on our roads are over 65, so they are at a considerable risk.”
“Some elderly people, especially in rural areas, have no access to transport and have no option but to walk on narrow, poorly lit roads, so these high visibility vests are of huge importance.”
The aim of Positive Ageing Week, which runs from September 28th until October 6th, is to dispel any negativity around ageing to emphasize the positive aspects that ageing holds for older people and their carers in this country. It will increase awareness of ageing matters in Ireland and promote cooperation and support between other community, voluntary and private sector groups
Castlebar is one of only six towns in the country that have been selected to be a Positive Ageing Week Town and a number of events will take place to highlight positive ageing.
Over three hundred new students at the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology in Castlebar will get a special goody bag when they begin their studies on Monday (Sept 24th) – warning them about the dangers of drug driving.
‘Don’t make it your last Trip’ will be emblazoned upon reflective bags in a bid to call a halt to drug driving.
“This is often the time, just starting at college, when students think about buying a scooter, motorbike or car to get around,” said Mayo County Council Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons.
“Having your own transport gives you greater independence and the freedom to travel when and where you wish but it also brings responsibilities. A few seconds lapse of concentration or carelessness could have lifelong repercussions.”
Road safety experts are visiting the college on Monday to highlight the high number of young people killed and injured in crashes.
“Displays will be set up by the Road Safety together Partnership during freshers events, to remind young people of the potential dangers – and how to avoid them,” added Noel.
Students will be given the bags containing leaflets with advice and hints to stay safe on the roads.
The campaign is sponsored by Irish Tar.
The major dangers at Halloween are not from ghosts and goblins…but rather from falls and pedestrian/vehicle collisions
Halloween means many things to many people. For some, it is an opportunity to play practical jokes; for others, it is fun; and to still others, it is a time to gorge on mounds of sweets solicited from neighbours. However, to Road Safety professionals , Halloween is often a tense time of year, a time when pranks cross the line into life endangering activities and when innocent children having fun and seeking treats, can fall victim to road collisions.
Their costumes may be out of this world, but their mode of travel is strictly down to earth- trick-or-treaters face significantly greater than usual risks from traffic as they make their rounds on foot. The road safety officer in Mayo County Council urges adults to review common sense guidelines with children to protect them from pedestrian injuries and falls, the most common risks they face on Halloween.
"The excitement of trick-or-treating can make everyone less cautious," said Noel Gibbons, road safety officer in Mayo County Council "To help keep children safe, parents should remind their kids about the rules of the road and ensure they will be seen by drivers this Halloween."
Young children are at special risk for pedestrian injury because they face traffic risks that exceed their developmental abilities, for example, the ability to accurately judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
The Road Safety officer recommends that an adult or older sibling accompany children under age 12 while trick-or-treating. In addition, the road safety officer offers the following recommendations:
Visibility. The end of daylight savings time means that children are more likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them. Children should bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags, or attach retro-reflective tape, fabric, or decorative patches to costumes.
Traffic. Review basic pedestrian safety rules, including where and how to cross the road. Teach kids never to dart out into the street or road -- one of the most common causes of pedestrian deaths among children. Drivers should be particularly alert on Halloween and watch for children on the street, in alleys and crossing the road.
Although Halloween is meant to be spooky and fun, it's also important to keep it safe for your children, your friends and yourself.