Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has been involved with Banbridge District Policing Partnership (DPP) and other key agencies working on an initiative to raise awareness with young passengers and drivers about the potentially fatal dangers of being in a car when a driver is distracted or their judgement impaired.
Since 1st April 2011, Banbridge DPP has worked with project partners including the PSNI, Public Achievement ‘Driving Change’ and ‘WIMPS’ projects, AllstateNI and REACT Ltd. to engage and facilitate the involvement of local young people in the making of a specially commissioned film featuring two young people on a first date. The outcome of this film reinforces the key messages of the other workshops – the Northern Ireland-wide ‘X The Text’ campaign supported by AllstateNI, PSNI and DoE; and the drink/drugs workshop which gives participants a realistic experience of how even a small amount of alcohol can significantly impair driver and passenger judgement.
For the Banbridge District, the target audience is Year 12 students focusing on their role as passengers, and students from Years 13 and 14 as new and soon to be young drivers. Through these Young Passengers And Drivers (YPAD) events, the project partners will engage with around 1,000 students through 36 events across 7 post-primary establishments. Local young people from across the District were involved from the outset in planning and acting in the film, and it’s hoped that this will encourage them and their peers to become advocates for safer driving practices. Other DPPs including Belfast, Armagh, Antrim, Down, Fermanagh and Newry & Mourne contributed to the £7K cost of the film.
The launch event will take place from 4pm and the Iveagh Movie Studios, Banbridge, and will be attended by VIPs including the PSNI Deputy Chief Constable and the NIFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer. However, following the launch event on 28th September 2011, the film will be distributed both in Northern Ireland and in RoI so that the impact of its’ powerful message can be as widespread as possible.
Comments from project partners are as follows:
The Chairman of Banbridge District Policing Partnership (DPP), Cllr Seamus Doyle, commented, “Banbridge DPP was able to take the opportunity to develop this initiative because of the excellent working relationship with the project partners. The elements of the Young Passengers And Drivers awareness-raising events will help to engage our local young people in considering the role that they have in preventing deaths and serious injuries on the roads, and the film will provide a resource for agencies and communities both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.”
The PSNI's Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie is delighted to be supporting this important event which further demonstrates the Police Service's commitment to reducing road deaths and serious injuries amongst young drivers.
The Deputy Chief Constable said "The young passengers and driver's awareness scheme delivers a strong message to our young people in an interesting, informative and user friendly way. This message will be delivered to over 1000 young people before the end of March 2012, promoting everyone's responsibility to keep our roads safe.
"No one wants to see young lives wasted on our roads and initiatives like Y-Pad can only help in preventing this."
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Eoin Doyle from Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Services said - “Local Firefighters who participated in the film, witness all too often the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as consequence of a moment’s inattention. These local Firefighters will be the first responding crew to a road traffic collision in the Banbridge area. This can be difficult for them as they never know who from the local area could potentially be involved in the incident.
"We are please to support this initiative and encourage all the young people involved to become champions of good road user behaviour. All road users - drivers, passengers and pedestrians - have a responsibility to make our roads safer and our message to road users is ‘Cut it out before we cut you out’.”
Mr Craig Cook, Director of REACT Ltd, commented, “REACT Ltd are delighted to be able to support the District Policing Partnership in the delivery of this initiative through a multi-agency partnership approach including PSNI, Public Health Agency, WIMPS, All State NI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the DOE. We would especially like to thank the young people who avail of the One Stop Shop service, funded by the Public Health Agency, for their enthusiastic support and input into the production of the DVD.
"The One Stop Shop and the Community Alcohol and Drug Support Service, also funded by the Public Health Agency, are co-facilitating workshops in Schools and the Southern Regional College in the Banbridge District area to promote the Safer Driving message to over 1,000 young people.”
Sonya Kerr, Marketing Executive at Allstate Northern Ireland
“We are delighted that the film promotes the dangers of texting and driving which is becoming more and more of an issue on our roads today. This works in tandem with our message of “X the TXT – Don’t Text and Drive” which we will be rolling out to schools and colleges in the Banbridge area via this initiative. Students can also get involved by entering a competition to create their own video clip for YouTube, for further information visit www.facebook.com/xthetxtni
For Public Achievement, their Director, Paul Smyth said - "This has been a fantastic project - particularly for the young people involved, who were able to work first hand with the Fire Service, the Police and the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, - getting a real insight into what the scene of a road traffic collision can involve. We are delighted to use our media and road safety expertise in a way which puts young people at the heart of finding solutions to the high incidences of injury and death amongst young drivers. This is a wonderful example of the power of partnership working."
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