‘We can’t become complacent’ - Road Safety chief

Donegal’s road safety officer has warned road users not to become complacent despite the fact road deaths in Inishowen are down.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Eamonn Brown said that despite ongoing efforts by themselves, gardai and teachers, they have not turned a corner and won the war against road deaths yet, adding it was an ongoing battle.

“There is no room for complacency. There hasn’t been a road death in Inishowen in over a year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. It is very much an ongoing battle.”

He was speaking ahead of the Donegal Road Safety Working Group’s fourth Road Safety Road Show next week. Children from Crana College, Carndonagh Community School, Scoil Mhuire and Moville Community College will attend.

Mr Brown believes it is important to teach pupils from a young age the dangers and reality of road deaths.

“This is the fourth year of the show so we now have out there those who were the first through the show and I would say it has influenced their driving behaviour.

“From the feedback we get from students and teachers, they say undoubtedly students remember and take away a very clear message from it.

“It is a very powerful tool and we continue to use it and that is whey we work so hard to get all the 16 and 17-year-olds in the county to experience the school.”

This year’s show comes on the back of the lowest road death figures in the county in recent times. Five people have died on Donegal roads so far this year, compared to 19 in 2010 and 14 in 2009.

“Although the figure is lower than before, it is still five lives lost and five needless funerals,” said Mr Brown.

The road safety officer added that he believes the road safety message is finally getting through to some, but says they have a long way to go.

The road safety show will be aimed at the county’s high risk age group.

“We start by showing them a video of a night out and how the girlfriend of a young driver dies in a car crash on the way home.

“It is hard hitting but it shows the reality and hopefully it will help change people’s attitudes and help give people courage to stand up and say they are not travelling in a car with a dangerous driver or simply saying ‘slow down’.”

Mr. Browne said schools have to be praised for continuing to bring their students to the event despite tighter school budgets.