VIRTUAL reality (VR) technology has been introduced by Cork County Council to promote road safety awareness.
County Mayor Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy, a wheelchair user as a result of a road accident, joined the students of Macroom schools St Mary’s Secondary School, De La Salle College and McEgan College, to launch the new road safety awareness programme called ‘Your Life – Your Choice’.
This is the first such programme to be rolled out in the country and is targeted at younger drivers, aged 16 to 25, who are among the most vulnerable road users, with passenger fatalities the highest in this age group.
Sponsored by Aviva Driving School, the VR units simulate a serious road incident with the viewer participating in the passenger seat of a VR car. Students using these units will witness many of the dangerous behaviours and factors that are present when young drivers are involved in serious collisions, including mobile phone use, speed, stopping distance, distraction and rural roads.
They will also witness, from the passenger seat, the immediate aftermath of a serious incident from when first responders arrive on the scene.
Mayor Murphy highlighted how such technology resonates with younger drivers and makes the results of distraction very real: ‘Any initiative which encourages people, particularly young people, to behave more responsibly behind the wheel is to be welcomed. I would like to acknowledge and thank Aviva Driving School for their sponsorship of the VR Units and credit both Cork County Council and An Garda Síochána for spearheading this initiative.
‘It’s great to see technology being utilised for the good of our communities.’
The rollout of the programme will be led by the County Council’s safety officer Caroline Casey, a winner of the RSA’s Leading Light Award and is supported by An Garda Síochána, who also played a key part in securing the programme.
Patrick Lehane, An Garda Síochána Southern Region Roads Policing Superintendent added: ‘This technology gives the user the most realistic experience of a road traffic collision, including the shocking scenes of emergency services removing casualties from a car.
‘Learning from mistakes is something you can’t afford do on the road, because let’s face it, one mistake might be one mistake too far – you only have one life.’
If you would like ‘Your Life – Your Choice’ to visit your school, you can contact Caroline by emailing [email protected] .