Ballynahinch schoolchildren in young drivers’ safety event

Ballynahinch schoolchildren in young drivers’ safety event

2 October 2019

A GROUP of 30 students from Ballynahinch High School recently took part in a young drivers’ safety event at Bishopscourt race circuit.

The event was organised by the Rowallane District Electoral Area Forum, Drive Techniques, Bishopscourt Racing Circuit, the Evo Driving Simulator, Policing and Community Safety Partnership, PSNI and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

Rowallane DEA chairman, Cllr Patrick Brown — who attended the event — said statistics show that the Newry, Mourne and Down 

Council area has the second highest level of accidents within Northern Ireland.

“With that in mind, the Forum fully supports this initiative which we believe will help reduce the number of accidents,” he said.

“The recent event highlights the devastating consequences of unsafe driving and delivers some hard-hitting images and presentations which we hope will remain with the young people for the future.”

The event began with an emotional account by Dawn McKay from the Isle Drive Driving School, who spoke about losing her best friend in a fatal car accident caused by an ‘R’ driver when she had been driving behind him on a night out. 

Officials from the Fire and Rescue Service gave a presentation on keeping safe when driving, including avoiding distractions such as mobile phones. 

Students had an opportunity to take turns driving around the Bishopscourt circuit, accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor, to experience what it was like to control a vehicle. 

Those not driving were able to use the Evo Driving Simulator to rate their driving ability, learn about tyre safety or experience the virtual reality goggle experience provided by the Fire and Rescue Service. 

Firemen also demonstrated how they cut people out of a vehicle to highlight the reality of what happens after a vehicle crash.

Greg Coyle, head of history and careers co-ordinator at Ballynahinch High, who was one of the teachers accompanying the students, described the Bishopscourt event as an “incredible opportunity” for young people to learn about the importance of safe driving, the devastating consequences of vehicle accidents and how to avoid distractions.