National Safety Council

We are pleased to support the "Steer Clear" programme on driver education for Senior Cycle school-goers. We recognise that it fills a gap in the overall need for all school children to be informed and educated about the risks of being a road user from pedestrian, cyclist, passenger, right though to being a driver or rider.

The National Safety Council has provided support to teachers in the form of resources for Primary schools with our "Be Safe"/Bí Slán" workbook (which also incorporates fire and water safety matters). For Secondary schools, we developed the "Staying Alive" resource pack which is primarily aimed at Transition year students.

In September 2005, we started a pilot programme in 40 schools covering first through third years called "Streetwise". This module has been approved by the NCCA of the Department of Education for inclusion in the SPHE programme and will form part of an examinable subject. We are currently revising the project on foot of comments from the pilot users, and expect to launch it at Easter.

As there are now in excess of 400,000 provisional licence holders and a significant number of these are attending school, it is imperative that a holistic approach is delivered to these young people in order that they can adopt a safety lifestyle as road users. This can only be done by recognising that driver training is only a part of driver education - an important part, but not the only part. As an example, rear seat belt wearing rates are only at a level of 46% (source: NRA - Seatbelt survey 2005). This means that young people need to be made much more aware of the need for saving themselves from unnecessary injury or death by wearing seat belts. This can only be done by having an integrated set of resources including the "Steer Clear" programme.

We welcome this addition to the road safety awareness programme and request that all educationalists endorse it vigorously. It will help to save lives on our roads.

Alan Richardson