Limerick school kids have their say on road safety programme

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

OVER 50 school kids got an opportunity to give feedback on driving safety and the effectiveness of the young drivers’ programme this week in Villiers’ Secondary School.

OVER 50 school kids got an opportunity to give feedback on driving safety and the effectiveness of the young drivers’ programme this week in Villiers’ Secondary School.

CAS, a London-based consultancy company, are touring Ireland to review the effectiveness of the Essential Driving Training (EDT) programme at the behest of the Road Safety Authority who operate it.

The company will judge the programme’s strengths and weaknesses by talking to those stakeholders involved with it, chief among them teenagers who go through it to get their learner’s permit, as well as parents, teachers, gardai and driving instructors.

Transition year students from Ardscoil Ris and fifth years in Villiers were invited to give feedback on the programme this week, with the aim a major review of the EDT programme from those who use it most.

“We are doing a very extensive consultation and are going to take the results of people’s perspectives from workshops across the country, which is what we are doing here,” explained Nicholas Cahill of CAS, who he said the company specialise in “socially responsible driving” and have worked for ten years reviewing best practice driver training, education and licensing across Europe.

“We have both learners and pre-learners, and we will take the findings of these opinions, look at best practice development and form some recommendations for the RSA on how this works in practice and how it might look in the future,” he added.

The EDT programme was introduced in Ireland nearly two years ago and the RSA recently commissioned CAS to conduct a major review to judge its effectiveness. As part of wider road safety practice for young people, the RSE runs driving modules in schools, and Moira Wallace, project co-ordinator in Ard Scoil, said 101 kids go through it every year in the North Circular Road school as part of their Transition Year experience.

“The whole year are involved in Transition Year and they love it, it gives them great practice for their driving test when they get to that age,” explained Ms Wallace.

Villiers school headmistress Jill Storey said the consultation process was “an opportunity for the students to learn and feel their voice is being listened to, which is really important for them”.

“They feel they are part of the consultation process which is important and we would always welcome the opportunity for them to do that.”