Dean McWhirter Firefighter Control Regional Control Centre, NIFRS HQ, Lisburn Read this articleRead all 9 articles
It’s ‘Your Choice’ when it comes to road safety is the message Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has been delivering to young people across Northern Ireland through its hard hitting virtual reality road safety education programme. Over 2,200 people across Northern Ireland have taken part in the ‘Your Choice’ programme with 90% of people saying they will now take fewer risks on the road.
‘Your Choice’, first introduced in May 2018, is aimed at young drivers and passengers. Firefighters have delivered the programme 165 times and 2,107 young people aged 16-24 have taken part. By wearing specially designed goggles people experience the reality of being a front seat passenger in a collision and witness the dramatic sights and sounds of the emergency services arriving on the scene and the rescue and removal of the casualties from the vehicle.
The aim of ‘Your Choice’ is to change driver attitudes to improve road safety and ultimately reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer & Director of Service Delivery comments on the success of the ‘Your Choice’ programme –
“When we launched ‘Your Choice’, we knew we had a real opportunity to make a lasting difference to the attitudes of drivers and in particular those young drivers aged 16-24. The uptake from schools, sporting organisations, youth clubs and groups has been fantastic and we are keen to expand on that to get our message out to young people – it’s ‘Your Choice’ and the choices you make have serious consequences for your own safety and that of other road users.
“ ‘Your Choice’ is uncompromisingly direct and honest and we have been targeting and prioritising the programme towards young people in geographical areas which continue to have high levels of road traffic collisions.
“Last year Firefighters attended 744 road traffic collisions rescuing 490 people trapped in vehicles. Unfortunately, Firefighters and other members of the emergency services witness all too often the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed, in particular among the 16 – 24 year old age group, as a consequence of irresponsible road user behaviour.
“Through ‘Your Choice’ and other road safety initiatives we work with our emergency service colleagues in the police and ambulance and with the Department of Infrastructure to improve road safety in Northern Ireland as one life lost on our roads is one too many.”
If you work with young people aged 16-24 and are interested in finding out more about the ‘Your Choice’ programme please email YourChoice@nifrs.org
NIFRS Road Safety Statistics
|2018-19||% change from 2017-18 to 2018-19|
|Road Traffic Collisions Attended by NIFRS||741||790||744||5.8%|
|Road Traffic Collision Fatalities (only at RTCs NIFRS attended)||40||40||38||5%|
|Road Traffic Collision Rescues||534||536||490||8.6%|