Students from Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré experiencing the aftermath of a car crash via VR.
Photograph by Odhran Ducie
Tipperary County Council is one of a number of local authorities to roll out virtual reality (VR) technology to raise awareness of road safety among young drivers.
With equipment sponsored by Aviva Driving School the local authority is available to visit second level schools to simulate a serious road traffic incident from the point of view of the front seat passenger. As part of the “Your Life – Your Choice” campaign, students are subjected to the effects of dangerous behaviour and factors contributing to road collisions including mobile phone use, speed, stopping distances and other distractions.
They also witness the aftermath of an incident and the arrival of emergency services at the scene.
The campaign will be targeted at younger drivers aged 16-25, who are among the most vulnerable road users with passenger fatalities the highest in this age group. It is also worth noting that between January and June 2019 28% of all Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) detections by Gardaí were young people aged between 21 and 30.
The first school in Tipperary to avail of the new technology was Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré. The feedback from the students in the Roscrea school was that the footage was “scary” and “very realistic” and it is hoped that it will influence them to be safer when they start driving.
Garda Anastasia Murphy, Forensic Collision Investigator with the Roads Policing Unit, who was present on the day said:”providing a compelling virtual reality experience to young drivers about the consequences of dangerous driving will have a positive impact on safer driving”.
Michèle Maher, Road Safety Officer with Tipperary County Council said: “the experience will make the dangers of road travel feel real to students. 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 to do on the road because 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”.
Further information can be obtained from the Road Safety Section of Tipperary County Council at 0761 06 5000.