A NEW road-safety initiative involving the use of virtual reality (VR) technology is being rolled out in Limerick.
Thirty VR headsets have been made available to members of the divisional Roads Policing Unit as part of the Your Life Your Choice initiative.
The initiative, which is supported by Limerick City and County Council and Aviva Driving School, aims to promote road safety – particularly among younger drivers.
The VR units have been pre-loaded with an eight minute video which simulates a fatal road collision from the perspective of a front seat passenger.
The 360 degree footage was recorded in the UK last year and features full-time emergency responders and some professional actors.
Viewers witness some of the dangerous behaviours and factors associated with young drivers involved in serious collisions, including mobile phone use, speed, stopping distance, and distraction.
They also witness, from the perspective of passenger seat, the immediate aftermath of being involved in a serious collision from when first responders arrive on the scene.
“It is a seven-and-a-half road safety clip where you are the passenger in a car and it gives you a full virtual reality experience of what it’s like being involved in a crash. It’s basically using modern technology in a very effective way,” said Sergeant Tony Miniter.
Visitors to Henry Street garda station on Culture Night were the first to use the new headsets while TY students from schools across county received a presentation on Monday.
The feedback from the students was that the VR footage was “scary” and “very realistic” and it’s hoped it will influence them to be safer when they start driving.
“It’s a completely impressive experience in relation to what it’s like to be involved in a really serious crash. You are looking at it from the perspective of being a front seat passenger. The driver has been seriously injured and a rear-seat passenger has been ejected out through the windscreen,” explained Sgt Miniter who told the students that being involved in a serious road collision is a horrible and disgusting experience.
So far this year, there have seven road fatalities across the Limerick garda division.