28 November 2018 News
Northern Regional College students in Ballymena have witnessed the dramatic scenes that unfold during a traffic collision.
Students at the College’s Farm Lodge campus looked on as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) highlighted what happens at the scene of an incident in a staged fatal traffic demonstration.
The event was hosted by the College as part of the nationwide Road Safety Week, the UK’s biggest road safety event which aims to inspire people across the country to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages.
Stephen McCartney, Head of Student Services at Northern Regional College, said the road safety event was an important way to help students understand and have a better appreciation of the potential dangers on the road.
“The staged fatal accident on campus was a hard-hitting but effective way to highlight the carnage that emergency services can witness when they arrive at the scene of a road traffic collision. We hope this event will help encourage our students to show greater care and consideration to all road users and that this in turn will help them become better, safer motorists.”
Constable Sydney Henry, PSNI’s Roads Policing team, had a key message for all: “You are not indestructible.”
He said: “We are all vulnerable and no one is immune. The road does not discriminate and will kill anyone who does not respect it. Cars do not cause crashes; roads do not cause crashes: people do.
“We see an increase in the number of people getting killed or seriously injured on the roads at this time of year. We would like to appeal to everyone to take care. No one wants to receive that unwanted knock at the door.”
Collisions on the road are the biggest killer of young people worldwide. In 2017, Counties Antrim and Londonderry saw 2,572 road traffic collisions, with over 10% of this figure (260) being killed or seriously injured. The main causes of collisions according to the PSNI were inattention and driving too close.
Stephen McMullan, a motor vehicle lecturer at the College, noted that modifications made to vehicles can cause a collision. He said: “The Road Safety Week demonstration has proved to be of particular use to our motor vehicle students. They have seen the impact that modifications can have on a vehicle if not made correctly, a message we continually reinforce.
“Modifications are fine when they are made legally and safely. However, those made illegally can be a real risk to drivers, passengers and other road users.”
Shannon Morrow, a Level Three motor vehicle student, said: “The scenes that we saw will definitely make me think more about how I drive. The image that really stuck with me was that of the police officers telling families that their loved ones had been killed on the roads. It makes you realise just how important it is to stay safe on the roads and to think what you are doing, especially in the winter months.”
Paul Caskey, Watch Commander with NIFRS, explained the consequences of a road traffic collision to students in attendance, as well as the procedures that happen at the scene. He emphasised that all drivers should drive safety and demonstrate “situation awareness”.
He said: “It is imperative that you are aware of your surroundings and of the consequences of any actions that you take.
“So far this year our Firefighters have rescued over 450 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.
“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.”
PSNI Roads Policing team