Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

NIFRS wins NI Road Safety Award for innovative ‘Your Choice’ virtual reality road safety programme

NIFRS has been awarded a prestigious NI Road Safety Award for our innovative virtual reality road safety programme ‘Your Choice.’

The NI Road Safety awards, now in their fifth year, are organised by Road Safe NI Charity and leading accident management specialist, CRASH Services.  A total of 15 awards were presented at an event attended by more than 100 specially invited guests at Cultra Manor, Holywood.

The NIFRS ‘Your Choice’ programme targets young drivers using virtual reality technology to place the young person into a hard hitting road safety scenario via specially designed goggles.

The equipment is used to highlight to young drivers the dangers on our roads and what can happen if things go wrong.

During the first 18 months of the programme, 255 ‘Your Choice’ programmes have been delivered to 3,529 participants. 88% of participants were aged 16-24 years old, which is the age group consistently over represented in the number of those killed or seriously injured on our roads.

After taking part in the programme, 90% of participants said they would take fewer risks on the roads.

There have been a significant amount of ‘Your Choice’ programmes delivered this week as part of Road Safety Week 2019.

Alan Walmsley, NIFRS Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded an NI Road Safety Award for our ‘Your Choice’ programme.

“The ‘Your Choice’ technology allows every user wearing a headset to experience the reality of being trapped in a vehicle. As a front seat passenger in the virtual world, the young person will be part of a crash scene and will experience the dramatic sights and sounds of emergency services arriving on the scene and the resulting rescue and removal of the casualties.

“We are reminding young people that they have a choice to decide what kind of road user they and their passengers will be.  Those decisions are vital to their safety and the safety of other road users.

“We hope that by educating young people through ‘Your Choice,’ it will help keep them safer on our roads and reduce the number of road traffic collisions attended by the emergency services.”

Pat Martin MBE, Chairperson of Road Safe NI, added:

“We had a fantastic response to the awards again.  There is such a vibrant and committed road safety community working all over Northern Ireland.  We are delighted to play our part in recognising those who go the extra mile.   The winning entries really stood out for their efforts over a long period of time and for delivering innovative projects.

“There is so much good work going on across our schools, local communities, emergency services and businesses.  The award winners are an inspiration to others and there is no question their efforts are saving lives on the road.”

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