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Road Deaths

TY students to sit new road safety course in light of 'horrific' death toll

The Road Safety Authority said it has reached an agreement with an experienced educator to try have the module ready for September.

TRANSITION YEAR STUDENTS will sit a new road safety module in light of the increasing death toll on Irish roads.

Education Minister Norma Foley has welcomed plans by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to develop the new module for TY students, saying that schools have seen the “horrific consequences” of road collisions at first hand.

A total of 60 people aged from 0 to 25 died on Irish roads last year, with 412 serious injuries recorded across that same age group by the RSA.

It’s hoped the new module will be ready to be introduced in schools for the forthcoming school year in September.

Speaking at the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) conference in Killarney this morning, Foley said schools have all too often been impacted by road deaths and said they needed support to help work on road safety.

“But school communities have unfortunately seen the horrific consequences of road collisions at first hand, I know these schools and I know they have helped their students to cope with the loss of classmates on the roads, with the assistance of psychologists from NEPS,” Foley said.

“I know too that we are all united in our desire to play our part in reducing the number of road deaths and the devastation experienced by the families left behind.”

The RSA will now convene focus groups with teachers and students as part of measures to help improve “road safety culture” among young people.

Its chief executive Sam Wade said the authority has reached an agreement in recent days with an experienced educator in a bid to have it ready for September.

“We know from research that providing good quality evidence-based road safety education is arguably the most effective way to equip the entire population, over time, as to how to use the roads safely,” Wade said.

Wade recently told The Journal of how research conducted by the RSA had found young people increasingly likely to look at their mobile phones while driving.

These young drivers are naturally “less experienced and have fewer driving hours”, Wade said.

It will aim to shorten it from the current 34-class lesson programme, which is conducted on a weekly basis throughout TY.

The Department of Education said the new module will also utilise technologies and practical experiences for students which were not available when the previous module was designed.

A statement from the Minister with responsibility for road safety, Jack Chambers said that the TY plans were an important development which will allow for enhanced and updated road safety education for students.

Chambers added that education had to play a key role to ensure safer roads, alongside “policy intervention” by the government, enforcement and awareness.

“This new transition year programme is one of a number of important measures underway in this area and will complement other road safety initiatives including the ongoing work to modernise the driver testing curriculum as well a major youth stakeholder forum I am hosting later in the month with the RSA,” Chambers said.

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