DIT Students and Gardaí Join Forces for Road Safety Awareness Project

Students Learning with Communities

Students from Dublin Institute of Technology have joined forces with the Garda Road Safety Unit to develop new means of communicating road safety messages to young people.  The CARS initiative (College Awareness of Road Safety) involves students from across DIT using their subject skills to explore different aspects of road safety and to design new and effective ways to communicate with young drivers, especially males in the 17-25 age bracket. 

This is the second year of the of the CARS project and the students involved this year come from a variety of disciplines including Chemistry, Marketing, Transport Management, Environmental Health, Automotive Management and Technology. As the projects which the students develop for CARS are DIT course-specific, the students will receive course credits for their work.

The results of the students? work will be presented at the CARS (College Awareness of Road Safety) Showcase on Tuesday 21st April from 4-6pm in DIT Aungier Street. 

The event will culminate with an awards ceremony to recognise the students? work. Gay Byrne, Chairman of the Road Safety Authority, and John Curran, Minister of State for Rural Community and Gaeltacht Affairs, as well as DIT President, Professor Brian Norton and a senior representative from the Garda Road Safety Unit will be officiating at the ceremony.

According to Elena Gamble of the DIT Students Learning with Communities Project programme, the aim of the CARS initiative is to get students to apply the knowledge that they have gained from their studies to improve awareness of road safety amongst  young drivers.   

?Young drivers make up a disproportionate share of the nation's road fatalities. As the majority of DIT students fit into this age bracket themselves, we believe that they can to provide valuable insights into how the message of road safety can be communicated more effectively.?  

?The aim of the CARS projects is to get students to apply their skills in a practical manner that their peers will understand. For example automotive management and technology students are probably better able than most to assess how safe a car is, and marketing students better equipped than most to target young adults in their own peer group,? she said.

There are currently about 200,000 students enrolled in 3rd level education, many of them between 17 and 24 years of age. Tragically, twenty of these 17-24 year olds per 100,000 population are killed each year in Ireland in road traffic accidents. Young male drivers make up a disproportionate share of the nation's road fatalities, and communicating road safety messages is an ongoing challenge. There is some evidence that the powerful images used in television advertisement campaigns in the past few years have had some effect on driver behaviour. However, regular news reports of deaths of young men on the country's roads would indicate that the message is not making the desired impact on young male drivers.

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