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Cork County Council introduces Virtual Reality (VR) Technology to promote Road Safety Awareness 

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy joined the students of St. Mary’s Secondary School Macroom, De La Salle College Macroom and McEgan College Macroom to launch a new road safety awareness programme called ‘Your Life – Your Choice’.  This is the first such programme to be rolled out in the Republic of Ireland.  

‘Your Life – Your Choice’ will be targeted at younger drivers, aged 16 to 25, who are among the most vulnerable road users with passenger fatalities the highest in this age group.

Sponsored by Aviva Driving School, the VR units simulate a serious road incident with the viewer participating in the passenger seat of a VR car. Students using these units will witness many of the dangerous behaviours and factors that are present when young drivers are involved in serious collisions, including mobile phone use, speed, stopping distance, distraction and rural roads. They will also witness, from the passenger seat, the immediate aftermath of a serious incident from when first responders arrive on the scene.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor Murphy, a wheelchair user as a result of a road accident, highlighted how such technology resonates with younger drivers and makes the results of distraction very real, “Any initiative which encourages people, particularly young people, to behave more responsibly behind the wheel is to be welcomed.  I would like to acknowledge and thank Aviva Driving School for their sponsorship of the VR Units and credit both Cork County Council and An Garda Síochána for spearheading this initiative. It’s great to see technology being utilised for the good of our communities.”

 Speaking about the campaign, Michael Bannon, Head of Aviva Driving School said “Aviva through our Aviva Driving school has already demonstrated our commitment to teaching younger drivers to be competent and safe on the road. We are now delighted to be supporting the ‘Your Life – Your Choice’ campaign by providing a compelling Virtual Reality experience to young drivers about the consequences of dangerous driving, which we believe will have a positive impact on safer driving”

The rollout of the program will be led by Cork County Council’s Safety Officer Caroline Casey, a winner of the RSA’s Leading Light Award and is supported by An Garda Síochána, who also played a key part in securing the programme.  

“An Garda Síochána is delighted to be associated with this initiative which embraces virtual reality technology to raise awareness of the dangers on our roads.  This technology gives the user the most realistic experience of a road traffic collision, including the shocking scenes of emergency services removing casualties from a car.  Learning from mistakes is something you can’t afford do on the road, because let’s face it, one mistake might be one mistake too far – you only have one life.   This experience should ingrain the vital message of road safety into the minds of young people” said Patrick Lehane, An Garda Síochána Southern Region Roads Policing Superintendent.

If you would like ‘Your Life- Your Choice’ to visit your school please contact Caroline by email at Caroline.Casey@CorkCoCo.ie .