Prisoners in Magilligan have signed up to a new road safety initiative which highlights the consequences of dangerous driving and helps reduce casualties on Northern Ireland’s roads.
A Road Safety Agreement, delivering an education programme by emergency services, has been put in place between Magilligan Prison and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.
A road traffic collision demonstration was staged inside the prison recently for more than 65 prisoners who have been involved in road traffic offences. The Police Service for Northern Ireland and Coastal Care private ambulance service also took part in the demo to mark Road Safety Week, which aims to encourage organisations and communities to take action on road safety.
Magilligan Prison Governor Richard Taylor said: “Road safety is a community issue. Dangers such as fast drivers blight communities and, during Road Safety Week, I can think of no better place to highlight the consequences than in a prison where some people will end up as a result of their actions while driving.
“By supporting safer driving and promoting life-saving messages, we are playing our part in building a safer community by supporting and challenging those in our care to change and helping to reduce re-offending.”
Gerry Lennon, Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Working in partnership with Northern Ireland Prison Service to deliver our road safety educational programme entitled ‘Your Choice’, provides us with a platform to engage directly with those who have been involved in serious road traffic offences.
“The virtual reality technology, used as part of the programme, allows every user to experience the stark reality of being trapped in a vehicle and to observe up-close the work of the emergency services at the scene of a road traffic collision. It’s uncompromisingly direct and honest. It highlights the consequences of irresponsible road user behaviour that firefighters have witnessed over 670 times this year, rescuing 450 people trapped in their vehicles. We must do all we can to ease the pain and suffering of families and communities caused by road traffic collisions. One life lost is one too many.”
Road Policing Education Officer, Constable Stuart Crutchley said: “We were very pleased to be invited to participate in this road safety event. Alongside our emergency service colleagues, Police are often the first to arrive at the scene of devastating collisions in which people have been killed or seriously injured.
“With inattention, excessive speed for the conditions and drink or drug driving consistently the main causes of the most serious collisions, police will continue to robustly enforce all road safety legislation to detect road users taking unnecessary and potentially life-changing risks. Educating all road users is a critical element to preventing collisions and saving lives on roads, so we hope that, by playing a role in this initiative, we are helping to deliver a hard-hitting road safety message.”
Road Safety Week ran during the past week.
Thousands of schools, nurseries, colleges, community groups and organisations work together during the UK’s biggest road safety event, raising awareness about road safety and helping save lives. Promoting life-saving messages during the Week and beyond, it also provides a focal point for professionals working in road safety to boost awareness and engagement in their work.
Magilligan Prison is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve.
There are currently 419 prisoners at Magilligan Prison.