Encouraging young people to be careful with there driving is always a hot topic, with a number of education programmes launched every year to try and get young people to change their driving manners. Now, the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has launched a new virtual reality (VR) road safety education programme that is aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds in Northern Ireland.
The experience is titled ‘Your Choice’, and is targeting young drivers with a hard-hitting road safety scenario that puts the viewer in the passenger seat of a road traffic collision. Sat in the front seat, viewers see the events leading up to the crash and then those that unfold during and after. The dramatic sights and sounds of emergency service arriving on scene and the resulting rescue and removal of the causalities is hope to drive the message home to the viewers.
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer & Director of Community Protection explains: “It’s an extremely hard hitting, virtual reality programme which takes the young person and puts them in the passenger seat of a vehicle, leading to, and then being involved in, a road traffic collision. It is hard-hitting. We’re trying to ask the young people to stop because it is their choice and that’s why it’s called ‘Your Choice’.
The BBC reported that in 2017, 828 people involved in road crashes in Northern Ireland suffered serious injuries with 63 people losing their life. It is therefore no surprise that the NIFRS have looked at the immersive technology as a means to try and educate young people on the dangers of driving and encourage them to think about their driving habits, lowering
“Sadly 16 – 24 year olds, and in particular young men, continue to be over represented in the statistics for those killed or seriously injured on our roads. We will be targeting and prioritising the ‘Your Choice’ programme towards young people in geographical areas which continue to have high levels of road traffic collisions. The ‘Your Choice’ programme is one element of our new Road Safety Strategy which outlines how we, as a key road safety partner in Northern Ireland, will continue to work in partnership with others to reduce death and injury on our roads.” Walmsley continues.
The NIFRS hope to get the programme seen by at least 1,000 16 to 24-year-olds per year with the aim of at least one in three people changing their driving habits after watching the VR experience.
“We must do all we can to share the road to zero – one life lost is one too many.” Walmsley added.
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