Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has officially launched a ‘New Driver Road Safety Pledge’ encouraging inexperienced drivers to develop good behaviours on our roads.
At the start of Road Safety Week the Minister attended a safety event at Belfast Boys’ Model school along with partner agencies, including the PSNI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service to help raise awareness of how vulnerable we all are on the road.
Minister Hazzard said:
“Road safety is an ongoing challenge and road deaths do not discriminate. Adopting positive behaviours can help make a real difference in reducing the number of collisions and deaths on the road.
“While we are all at risk, some groups, particularly young drivers, are more vulnerable. However it is important to note that all new drivers, regardless of age, are at an increased collision risk. In fact almost one in five of all new drivers crash within the first six months.”
Continuing the Minister said:
“This is why I am launching a bespoke New Driver version of my Department’s ‘Share the Road to Zero’ road safety pledge. When you pledge, you will receive regular road safety advice, including specific messages for new drivers. We know that over 95% of deaths and serious injuries on our roads are due to human error - something that we as individuals all have the power to control by eliminating high risk behaviours.
“It is a really positive sign that the pupils and staff at Belfast Boys’ Model school are showing a commitment to road safety and I would encourage other schools to get involved.”
Drivers can make the pledge on the Share the road to zero website at www.sharetheroadtozero.com.
Police Service of Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “So far this year, Police officers have visited the homes of 59 families across Northern Ireland to deliver the devastating news that one of their loved ones has been killed on our roads. Many more have received news of serious injuries. Behind every statistic, every news report, there are families and friends who have been affected and we must remember them.
“As we begin road safety week, we are reminding everyone to share the responsibility for road safety. Slow down; Pay greater attention to the road and your surroundings; always wear a seatbelt and never drive after drinking or taking drugs.”
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “It’s an unspeakable tragedy that anyone should lose those lives on our roads. We are all responsible for road safety – we all have a responsibility to ‘Share the Road to Zero’ and 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.
“Sadly our Firefighters have seen the devastation of irresponsible road user behaviour too many times this year attending 656 road traffic collisions and rescuing 447 people trapped in their vehicles.”
John McPoland for the Ambulance Service said: “Road safety week provides the ambulance service with an opportunity to pass on important messages to all who use our roads, but particularly young drivers. The messages we pass on are as a result of experiences of our emergency crews who attend too many scenes of devastation – scenes where limbs have been lost, where bodies have been crushed and left mangled, where lives have been changed for the worse, and forever, and where young people have tragically died. Statistics show that, somewhere near us, some family is going to be left devastated due to the loss of a loved one in the run up to Christmas. Our message is – don’t let that be you. As you take to the roads you will develop an attitude to driving. Please let that attitude be a good one where you show care, courtesy and consideration to other road users; where you show good example to your peers and aim to do your best to protect them while they travel with you. For us, the best place to start is by signing up to the New Driver “Share the Road to Zero” pledge. We just ask you to be safe on the road.”
Notes to editors:
- A total of 14,839 people have been killed on roads in the north since deaths were first recorded in 1931. And 77,728 people have been seriously injured since records began in 1971 (up until 31 August 2016).
- A total of 59 people have lost their lives on the road this year. This compares to 63 at the same time last year and 73 for 2014.
- In 1931 there were 114 road deaths and this number increased over the years before peaking in 1972 with 372 deaths. The number of road deaths then gradually reduced during the late 1970s and the 1980s before levelling off with around 150 deaths per year during the 1990s. Road deaths then decreased during the 2000s dropping from 148 fatalities in 2001 to 115 in 2009 before the numbers virtually halved in 2010 (55 fatalities) with similar numbers recorded in 2011 (59 fatalities). Before 2010, road deaths had never dropped below 100. The lowest figure of 48 deaths was recorded in 2012.
- Age is a contributory factor in novice driver collisions but all new drivers, regardless of age, are at an increased collision risk; 20% of new drivers have a collision in the first six months.
- Share The Road to Zero is a huge road safety community programme with one aim – zero road deaths on our roads. More than 20,000 people here have pledged to Share the Road to Zero. Pledge at: www.sharetheroadtozero.com.
- The Highway Code advises on the Safety Code for New Drivers https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/safety-code-new-drivers
- For media enquiries please contact DfI Press Office tel. 028 9025 6058 or out of office hours, contact EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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