The Sligo Road Policing Unit delivered The Life Saver Project workshop to the transition year students at St. Mary’s College in Ballisodare on Tuesday 18th March.

The Life Saver Project is a Road Safety Education program, launched in October 2023 aimed at reducing the number of road accidents and fatalities around the country.

The number of fatalities in 2023 increased 19 per cent when compared to the previous year. In 2024 these numbers have already reached 46.

Sergeant Aoife Hayes of Sligo’s Road Policing Unit presented the workshop alongside Garda Tara Darcy of the Community Policing Unit and Garda Darrell Fitzpatrick of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit.

About 20 transition year students at St. Mary’s College attended the workshop and learned about how to be safe and keep others safe on the roads.

The interactive session was supported by videos of personal experiences of road traffic collision victims and their families along with explanatory videos of Gardaí explaining about the scientific angles of how to avoid accidents.

Speeding, Drunk driving, use of mobile phones and not wearing seat belts are some of the major factors that lead to fatal accidents on roads, said Sergeant Aoife Hayes.

“These incidents are called accidents because nobody goes out of their home with an intention to do something like this, but it happens because of some wrong choices that people make while driving.

“We often know the statistics of fatalities but what we don’t know or see are the survivors and how their life changes afterwards.

“I don’t like to talk about statistics or even call them statistics because these numbers represent somebody’s family, friends or relatives.

“Through this educational workshop our aim is to bring the number of deaths on roads to 0 by 2050.”

Sgt Hayes also encouraged the students to be more decisive and be ready to put out their opinion.

“If you are in a car and you think the driver is driving too fast, you should tell them to stop and let them know that you don’t feel safe with the way they are driving.

“Whether you are on a bike, a motorbike or in a car, people should always wear the safety gears be it helmets, high-visibility jackets, seat belts and encourage others to do the same.”

Sergeant Hayes has been working with the Sligo Road Policing Unit for almost 8 years and she believes that getting the message out is very important.

“Working in the Road Policing Unit our major objective is to reduce the number of road traffic collisions and we know from the research that education is really important.

“Trying to change the driver behaviour through education is the main aim and we are doing that through workshops like these aim all cohorts above the age of transition year students.”

Neha Arun, a transition year student at St. Mary’s told The Sligo Champion that workshops like these make an impact on the young minds and it changes our thought process.

“It was intense but we learnt from it and I am definitely going to tell everybody around me to follow the road safety measures because it can help us bring a change.”

Cllr Marie Casserly said: “I understand that watching these videos is difficult but it’s equally important to get the message out.

“This workshop and our efforts would be considered successful if we would be able to save even one person from a fatal accident or a life changing injury and that is the reason why I wanted to have this workshop delivered here.”

For full article see © Sligo Champion