The Leading Lights in Road Safety Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts of people to improve road safety in their communities. The awards provide a special opportunity for members of the public to honour the contribution of exceptional people to making our roads safer for everyone.
The awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 11th December in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, which were hosted by RSA Chairman, Mr Gay Byrne and attended by almost 200 award winners, the awards celebrate the outstanding efforts made by people and groups throughout the country to help promote awareness of road safety.
This year, ‘Leading Lights in Road Safety Awards’ were handed out in the categories Approved Driving Instructor, Business, Education (Community, Preschool, Primary, Secondary and Third Level), Local Media, Road Safety Ambassador, Road Safety Officer, Public Sector, CPC Training Organisation of the Year and CPC Trainer of the Year.
The award winners are as follows:
‘Business’ Award: Shell E&P Ireland Ltd Safe Driving Programme
The Shell E&P Ltd Safe Driving Programme was developed in 2008 and has been evolving on a continual basis with additional campaigns added every year. The aim of the programme is to minimise the road safety impacts of Shell’s operations whilst sharing knowledge and experience of road safety with the community in order to improve driver behaviour and reduce the number of injuries/fatalities on the roads. Shell E&P has decided to adopt a holistic approach to road safety and extend their campaigns beyond their workers and contractors to the wider community.
The Safe Driving Programme comprises the following: A Defensive Driving Programme which is mandatory for all Shell staff; a Safe Driving DVD which focuses on driver behaviour and how to cope with hazards – this has been distributed to all staff on the Corrib project, every home in Erris and all TY students in Erris; Safe Winter Driving Campaign, a joint campaign involving Shell, the RSA and IBEC West, where road safety diving packs are distributed to all IBEC affiliated companies in the West; distribution of safety kits; second level safety driving programme for all TY and fifth year students in Erris; and professional Driver CPC courses. There is also a dedicated internal Road Safety Taskforce with representatives from senior management and every department within Shell, including all contractors on the project, to review road safety on the Corrib project.
Since the programme was developed, over 1,500 road safety kits have been distributed, over 5,500 people have completed the Defensive Driving Programme and 244 TY and fifth year students have participated in the Second Level Safe Driving Programme. Most importantly, there has been a low level of road traffic collisions related to the Corrib gas project.
‘Community’ Award: Mizen Rovers GAA Club ‘Care For Our Players’
Mizen Rovers is an underage GAA Club situated at the far end of the Mizen peninsula, approximately 130km from Cork city. The club caters for boys and girls from the ages of 5 to 18 who are involved in coaching and playing hurling and football. In 2011, the club developed a programme called ‘Care For Our Players’, a three-pronged programme including Road Safety, Health and Wellbeing, and Jobs and Enterprise. The road safety element of the programme was prompted following a lucky escape in a collision by a number of the club’s 17 and 18 year old players. Around the same time, other young GAA players in another part of the country had not been so lucky and had lost their lives in a collision. The image of the coffins draped with the club jerseys prompted someone to remark that something needed to be done about keeping jerseys on players’ backs, not on coffins.
The programme involves a number of different activities, including bringing the younger players to a local driving academy to learn more about driving and road safety. The Club covered most of the cost (the parents made up the rest) and it proved so popular that groups are now brought annually. In 2012, the Club designed a billboard displaying stark road safety messages and ‘in your face’ images and put it up in the team dressing rooms as a road safety reminder. They also put up a sign at the exit to the complex to remind players about using seatbelts. This year, a new initiative ‘I Care’ was developed to promote safe and careful driving. Young male drivers were asked to display the ‘I Care’ logo on their car as a sign of their commitment and responsibility towards others on the roads.
The club has also provided a high vis jacket to every walker and jogger with the club, and the club’s website mizenrovers.com carries a permanent road safety message for all players and visitors to the site. As a result of these campaigns, road safety has become part of the club’s culture.
‘Emergency Services’ Award: Rescue Organisation Ireland / Eagraíocht Tarrthála Éireann
Rescue Organisation Ireland (ROI) is a voluntary Emergency Services organisation and a registered charity. It was founded in 2008 by members of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services in early 2008 as a means of improving, updating and standardising the training and response of Emergency Service personnel who regularly attend and deal with road traffic collisions (RTCs) on Ireland’s roads.
The organisation was developed in response to the consistently high level of serious traffic incidents on our roads. It sought to investigate ways that the Emergency Services can train to be better at what they do, in an effort to improve road safety. Due to the drive and commitment of its members, ROI has become the leading authority on Crash Rescue techniques and RTC training in Ireland. ROI is also a Level 1 member of the World Rescue Organisation which incorporates similar road safety organisations around the world.
Each year, ROI holds a National Challenge event which is focused on road safety and crash rescue scenarios. Regular skills development days are also held in different locations nationwide. As a result of their ongoing work and commitment to road safety, huge improvements across the Irish Emergency Services have been made, helping to ensure that lives can be saved on our roads.
‘Media’ Award: The Irish Examiner
The Irish Examiner is a daily national newspaper with an average readership of 200,000 per edition. The newspaper has consistently reported on issues governing road safety over the years when it regularly highlighted how Ireland lagged behind other countries in adopting best practices to combat road collisions. It has supported various Government initiatives to reduce road fatalities and implement a range of measures to improve Ireland’s road safety record, including the establishment of the Road Safety Authority as well as the introduction of a penalty point system, a revised driver licence system and mandatory alcohol testing.
In the past year, the Irish Examiner has used official data to highlight concerns about a reduction in Garda resources and its negative impact on road safety statistics. It has also provided critical analysis of the Government’s new Road Safety Strategy. Road safety stories published in the Irish Examiner have been referenced in various other media, including RTÉ, TV3, local radio stations and various other newspapers.
‘Education (Pre-Primary)’ Award: Learn Early Montessori Academy and Crèche (Claire Bardon)
Claire Bardon believes that in her capacity as a preschool owner, she has a great platform that she can use to help educate the children placed in her care in road safety. Claire’s primary aim is to increase road safety awareness among preschool children, their parents and family members and to help the fight to prevent injury and save lives on the roads.
In January 2012, Claire developed a curriculum plan which comprised games and art projects all designed to teach the children the importance of road safety. These activities included the Crossing the Road Game, Traffic Light Art and Stop Sign Art. These games helped the children placed in care learn the meaning of road safety and gain a real understanding of the dangers of the road through interactive games and creativity.
Claire continues to run this project in Learn Early Montessori Academy and Crèche with the support of her staff, families within the crèche, the community and local Ballymote Garda.
‘Education (Primary)’ Award: Scoil Bhride
The Athgarvan Village Footpath project is a highly successful campaign developed by Carmel Murphy to make it safer for the children of Athgarvan to walk to school. The journey from the main housing estates was a hazardous one, along a busy, narrow road. As a concerned parent, Carmel canvassed Kildare County Council and local political representatives to have a much needed safe footpath to the school completed. Carmel also contacted the local newspapers and radio stations to generate publicity for her campaign.
Since the new footpath has been completed, the school now has a “Walk on Wednesday” walking to school campaign, and the path is now used daily by school going children and indeed by the whole community. A marked reduction in traffic at the school has also been noted as parents are happy to allow their children to walk independently to school.
‘Education (Primary)’ Award: Scoil Chlochair Mhuire
With an increase in pupils attending Scoil Chlochair Mhuire and a rise in the number and occurrence of road safety incidents, ‘Operation Safe Home’ is an initiative designed to improve the system of children exiting the school at home time. The project began in September 2011 when the school partnered with their local Gardaí, Cork County Council and lollipop lady, Ann Cull, to devise and plan the logistics of introducing the system at the school.
Each teacher in Scoil Chlochair Mhuire has become fully involved in ‘Operation Safe Home’ and the project is now completed on a daily basis regardless of the weather. Lollipop Lady, Ann Cull, also addresses all children at assembly at different points throughout the year in relation to ‘Operation Safe Home’. Therefore all children have an increased awareness of the importance of road safety.
Scoil Chlochair Mhuire has received very positive feedback from parents who found the system very effective and safe. And most importantly, Scoil Chlochair Mhuire has increased road safety awareness and there has been a marked decrease in road traffic incidences when the children are leaving the school.
‘Education (Secondary)’ Award: Mount St. Michael
Following the death of a fellow pupil and learner driver student, students from Mount St Michael school got together to discuss raising awareness and visibility of learner drivers on the roads. They designed a campaign called ‘Visu-L’, which focused on the design of a more visible and reflective ‘L’ Plate for learner drivers that would increase learner driver’s visibility at night and therefore help to decrease road traffic accidents and increase confidence of the learner driver.
The ‘Visu-L’ campaign was designed and managed by young people and aimed at young people, as well as other learner drivers and road users. The reflective ‘L’ Plates were sold across Ireland and 10% of the profits benefited the National Rehabilitation Hospital.
The ‘Visu-L’ team have also been presented with the Seán Lemass Award for Excellence in Enterprise from an Taoiseach Enda Kenny having been awarded 1st place for Innovation and 2nd place for Marketing in the final of Mini Company Get up and Go 2012.
‘Public Sector’ Award: 2 Artillery Regiment
After the tragic death of three members of 2 Artillery Regiment in road traffic collisions, members of the Regiment worked with bereaved families to set up IRVA (Irish Road Traffic Victims Association) in memory of their lost colleagues.
Members of the 2 Artillery Regiment have worked tirelessly to fundraise and raise awareness of road safety both in Ireland and overseas. Members of the Regiment who are currently serving in Lebanon undertook a road race while six soldiers based in Ireland chose to pull a hospital trolley with a full body weight mannequin from their barracks in Athlone to the IRVA Garden of Remembrance in Mullingar, where the IRVA bench and tree in memory of road traffic victims and their families and friends all over Ireland is planted at Belvedere House and Gardens.
‘Education (Special School)’ Award: Paul Ryan, COPE Foundation
Paul Ryan is an employee in COPE Foundation, Cork, and was nominated for a Leading Light Award for his project to train service users with intellectual disabilities (ID) to learn independent travel skills. The programme is aimed at helping people with ID to integrate more effectively in Cork City and County. COPE Foundation provides services to approximately 2200 people with ID in Cork, and Paul Ryan works with his team to offer each service user opportunities to live as full a life as possible in their communities.
The Independent Travel Project helps people with an ID who want to be less dependent on others for their most basic travel needs and who wish to make use of their right to free travel on public transport safely and appropriately. The Independent Travel Project has been a great success with 12 staff currently trained in Independent Travel Training delivery in COPE. This project has trained 30 people in traveling independently for social, vocational and personal reasons. There are currently 30 more in training at present. This has facilitated improved quality of life for the individuals concerned through their capacity to avail of employment, education and social without the need for assistance.
‘Road Safety Ambassador’ Award: Gertie Shields
Gertie Shields, founder of ‘Mothers Against Drink Driving, known as MADD, in 1986, has been tirelessly campaigning on road safety since she lost her daughter in a road traffic collision caused by a drink driver in 1983. Since then, Gertie has achieved huge strides in road safety legislative and social change through her campaigning and lobbying over the years.
Through telling her personal story in the media and at public meetings, as well as keeping a high profile for MADD in the media and public domain, she has kept road safety on the agenda and in the spotlight. Gertie is a true ‘ambassador’ for road safety and highly deserving of the Road Safety Ambassador Award.
‘Road Safety Officer’ Award: Seamus Storan, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Seamus Storan is the RSO in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Seamus received the ‘Road Safety Officer’ Award for his role in delivering road safety educational and awareness campaigns in 2013. Seamus was instrumental in the following campaigns:
- A two-car crash collision simulation in UCD (in conjunction with the Gardai, emergency services and UCD). The core message of this campaign was the devastating consequences of using your phone while driving.
- “Stay Bright on Fright Night” on Halloween. The core message of this campaign was to encourage children to wear high viz while trick or treating on Halloween, and to raise awareness about visibility on dark winter evenings.
- “Be Safe Be Seen” HGV demonstration and Hi Viz vest giveaway at N11 entrance to UCD. The message was in particular how to walk/cycle in a safe was so you can be seen when sharing the road with HGVs.
- A road safety campaign at St Brigid’s school in Cabinteely in September and October. The core message of this campaign was to ensure parents were parking in designated, safe areas to reduce congestion in and around the school grounds.
In particular, the UCD crash simulation received a lot of media coverage nationally and locally and was very hard-hitting with the students, specifically in relation to the use of mobiles and driving.
‘Special Recognition’ Award: Toni Kelly and Craig Breen
Since 2011 when they participated in the launch of the UN Decade of Action, Toni and Craig have promoted road safety through the film series, ‘What’s the Difference’, and through their hard hitting, ‘Keep the Race in its Place’ message. They both have given up a lot of their time to feature in local radio ads and use their social media presence to consistently promote the ‘Keep the Race in its Place’ message.
Overall, their influence impresses upon young people that the cars they drive are not kitted out in the same way as a modern rally car, as well as emphasising the personal safety equipment they are required to wear – highlighting the difference between professional rally driving and a normal road car. Their work is a long term campaign aimed at changing attitudes of young people towards road safety and speed.
‘Special Recognition’ Award: New Court Special School – Dave Byrne
With a high number of buses entering and exiting their school and a vulnerable student population, New Court Special School put in place a safety procedure for students when embarking and disembarking from buses each morning, and at home time. Dave Byrne, the nominee, has been monitoring this process for the last five years.
Dave runs an informal mentoring system, where he gives older students responsibility for care of the younger students. Dave links with the schools’ Special Needs Organiser, Bus Éireann and all the drivers and escorts on the bus to ensure safety of the students is paramount. Dave also keeps a very close eye and links with the parents, drivers, escorts and teachers to enable the students to be safe on the bus.
He is on duty on the yard to ensure the children embark and disembark from the buses in a safe manner. Having 9 buses and students with complex learning needs this can be quite a challenge but Dave takes it in his stride and looks after everyone.
‘Special Recognition’ Award: Kinsale Community School
These three young students wanted to learn to drive but were aware that many deaths on our roads were young men. They took a particular interest in tyre pressure as a cause of collisions. They formulated a survey to establish people’s awareness of tyre pressure and its impact on the vehicle and road safety. They surveyed shoppers in Tesco, Wilton, surveying 320 members of the public and testing the tyre pressure of 160 vehicles.
Their results were very insightful into drivers’ awareness and knowledge of their tyre pressure. The survey showed 73% of males and only 43% of females knew the correct tyre pressure for their vehicles and among other findings, almost half of tyres tested were wrongly inflated. As part of the survey, the team spent time educating the public who participated about correct tyre pressure and how often they should check their tyres.
‘Approved Driving Instructor – Car’ Award: Diane Harvey
This has been awarded to Diane Harvey who qualified as an ADI in 2011. Diane was awarded the ADI of the Year award in 2012 and as these ADI awards are competitive, this is a great achievement. Diane clearly loves her work and enjoys preparing learners for a lifetime of safe and socially responsible driving.
‘Approved Driving Instructor – Motorcycle’ Award: Jonathan Coburn
The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Motorcycle’ Award has been awarded to Jonathan Coburn. Jonathan is a very experienced motorcycle trainer who provides training under the RSA’s Initial Basic Training (IBT) programme to new and novice motorcyclists. Jonathan became a motorcycle instructor in May 2009 and then an IBT trainer in December 2010.
‘Approved Driving Instructor – Bus’ Award: Charlie Simpson
The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Bus’ Award has been awarded to Charlie Simpson. Charlie has been an ADI training instructor with Bus Éireann since June 2009 and is responsible for a wide range of training delivered to drivers in the South East. Charlie has had a long standing interest in road safety and a personal commitment to helping the company maintain its excellent public service safety record.
‘Approved Driving Instructor – Truck’ Award: Philip Rice
The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Truck’ award has been awarded to Philip Rice. Philip trains drivers in the Galway region and has been an ADI since January 2009. This year he was nominated in two award categories, bus and truck. Philip also works as an industry representative on the RSA’s ADI Stakeholder Forum helping the RSA to develop the industry and standard of driver training. Philip is also involved in Driver CPC training which is a periodic refresher training for bus and truck drivers.
‘CPC Training Organisation of the Year’ Award: Musgrave Retail Partners
The ‘CPC Training Organisation of the Year’ award winner is Musgrave Retail Partners.
Musgrave’s drivers have acknowledged the hard work that goes into providing quality periodic CPC training to its professional drivers providing very positive feedback through the RSA’s training evaluation scheme. For this reason, they have been selected as CPC Training Organisation of the Year.
‘CPC Trainer of the Year’ Award: Benedict Maguire
The ‘CPC Trainer of the Year’ award winner is Benedict Maguire of MGM Training. Benedict has been selected as CPC Trainer of the Year following incredibly positive feedback from drivers attending his training sessions. There are over 600 CPC trainers so this award is quite an achievement.
A good CPC trainer needs to engage the drivers, recognising their experience and expertise and to use that resource to help ensure key road safety messages are taken on board as well as experiences shared. One of the best resources a trainer has is the professionals who themselves are attending the refresher training. Engaging with those experienced drivers can be challenging at times but Benedict has demonstrated a real flair for doing just that.