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Students Point the Way to Road Safety

Balloons and discarded shoes commemorate road crash victims at the scene of a road safety simulated crash at the University of Ulster Coleraine campus.  Back row -  Clive Lowry, crew commander, NI Fire & Rescue Service (Coleraine), Constable Sydney Henry, Traffic Education Officer, PSNI, and Emma Annett, SU Vice President for Education and Welfare. Front row - Sean Cunningham, Site Vice President at Coleraine, Patricia Delaney, University Drama Society and Chris O'Connell, NI Fire & Rescue Service (Coleraine)

Student leaders at University of Ulster Coleraine are driving home a poignant and graphic message about dangers on the road this week.

A simulated car crash, a touching remembrance of victims and advice from the Institute of Advancing Motoring (IAM) are part of a special Road Safety Roadshow being held at the campus all this week (Mon Feb 28 – Friday March 4).

Emma Annett, Students’ Union Vice-President, Education and Welfare, said: “Last year 24 people aged under 30 died on our roads and in memory of them we are releasing 24 balloons and placing 24 pairs of shoes side by side on the road.”

Emma, who graduated with an honours degree in Media and Studio Production last year, said the dangers posed by the recent wintry weather had confirmed the organisers in the need for a campaign.

The PSNI and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are teaming up with the Students’ Union organisers to get the ‘safe driving’ message across to students on the North Coast.  The Students' Union is especially targeting the 17– 30 age group.

The emergency services performed realistic medical and rescue cover at a ‘crash’ site near the entrance to main University building on Monday while drama students acted as traumatised and trapped casualties amid the debris of a wrecked vehicle.

Media students videoed the event and will also make a podcast of the experiences of a real victim of a serious car accident.

The Students’ Union has secured nearly £3,000 for the campaign from UnLtd, a charitable organisation which supports social entrepreneurs.  The campaign is also supported by the Department of the Environment.

Adding further weight, representatives of Allstate Insurance Company, the Northern Ireland organisers of a ‘take the pledge to X the Text’ campaign, were on hand so that students could sign up to a commitment not to text while driving.

The IAM is among the contributors to a series of road safety workshops on Wednesday.  There will be an opportunity for some of those who attend to have their driving skills vetted under the eagle eye of an IAM representative. Coleraine Borough Council, the emergency services and the Students’ Union will have a number of stalls dispensing information, advice and ‘freebies’.

Professor Robert Hutchinson, Provost of the Coleraine campus: “This is a desperately important issue, considering the scale of deaths and injuries and the numbers of young people who are victims.  Full credit to the Students’ Union for giving a lead in this campaign which is bringing home the stark horror of deaths on our roads.”

Sean Cunningham, Site Vice President at Coleraine said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding for such a worthwhile campaign.  The Students’ Union took part in a rigorous application process to demonstrate how we would run an effective road safety campaign at the campus. 

“Young men in particular are still vastly over-represented in road fatalities. All young drivers must take extra care on our roads, especially at this time of year when conditions can rapidly deteriorate with a sudden change in the weather.”
For further information, please contact:

Emma Annett 02870 324321 vp.edwel@uusu.org

Sean Cunningham 02870 324323 vp.coleraine@uusu.org