The College Awareness of Road Safety (CARS) project, a long-term collaborative Students Learning With Communities project between DIT and the Garda Road Safety Unit, has won a Road Safety Authority Leading Lights award!
The Garda Road Safety Unit approached DIT in 2008 to see could lecturers and students be encouraged to take on course-based projects addressing the topic of road safety from the perspective of their own disciplines. Mainstream advertising and other road safety initiatives were not having the anticipated impact on the 17 to 24 year age category, so the CARS project sought ideas and initiatives from students themselves. Lecturers and students could choose a road safety topic which they felt had an impact on their peers, research relevant data, produce an appropriate strategy to raise awareness among their peers, all within their coursework. RSU staff have mentored students and lecturers for the past 11 years on these projects, supported by DIT’s Programme for Students Learning With Communities.
This innovative project involves students from various disciplines applying their developing subject knowledge and skills (e.g. engineering, business, chemistry, marketing, optometry, tourism, environmental health, geographical sciences, professional design practice) to issues of road safety.
Since 2011 an annual showcase gives students (from undergraduate to PhD) the opportunity to present their road safety projects to their peers and a panel of representatives of the RSU, DIT staff, and DIT Student’s Union. All projects are scored against the same criteria, and the best overall project is awarded a prize, presented by the RSU and DIT President.
Since 2016 the competition has been opened to lecturers in IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown, so the project will continue in 2019 when the three partners merge into TU Dublin.
At the Leading Lights award ceremony in Croke Park, DIT academic staff and staff from Students Learning With Communities, along with Garda Road Safety Unit staff, received the award from the Chair of the Road Safety Authority. Pictured below are, from left to right: Ms Catherine Lynch, Mr Emmet Jordan-Kelly, Dr Cora O’Donnell, Dr Vanessa Murphy, Ms Liz O’Donnell (RSA), Dr Catherine Bates, Garda Derek Cloughley (Garda Road Safety Unit), Mr Greg Burke, Mr Victor Hrymak.