RoSPA Information Nights

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ advanced drivers and riders network is expanding in Northern Ireland, with prospective tutors and group members invited to two information nights to find out more.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service’s (NIFRS’s) Road Rescue Team will be demonstrating its skills at the two events, which will be held in Cookstown and Coleraine to mark the re-launch of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR) Northern Ireland group.

The re-launch aims to increase awareness of how improving driving and riding skills can play a crucial part in cutting the toll of death and injury on the roads and enable people to get more enjoyment from their driving or motorcycling.

The RoADAR information nights will be hosted at Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service premises on: Tuesday, November 17 in Main Street, Cookstown; and Thursday, November 19 in Suite 8, River House, Castle Lane, Wasterside, Coleraine. Both events begin at 7.30pm.

NIFRS’s specialist Road Rescue Team will be attending both events to give the public an insight into its role at road traffic collisions and the work it does in relation to training and helping improve road safety. The Road Rescue Van will show all the latest equipment and technology that firefighters use at road traffic collisions.

RoADAR aims to reduce accidents by improving driving and riding standards, knowledge and skill. Local groups, of which there are more than 50 across the UK, offer free assessments and training for people who are interested in becoming advanced drivers or riders. Until now, driving has been the focus of Northern Ireland’s RoADAR group, but it is hoped that new tutors and group members will enable the group to expand into motorcycling.

There were 107 road fatalities in Northern Ireland in 2008, down from 113 in 2007. But the year-to-date figures for 2009 show that 98 people have been killed so far, compared to 85 in the same period (January to early November) last year.

Ita McErlean, of RoSPA in Northern Ireland, said: “Despite a downward trend in the number of road deaths in Northern Ireland over recent years, this year’s figures to date are disappointingly higher than last year’s, proving that we still have a long way to go in making our roads safer. Each and every one of us has a part to play in this.

“For drivers and riders, this includes being honest about how our skills and attitudes have changed in the time since we took our initial tests. We encourage everyone to take refresher driver or rider training, and we are delighted that RoADAR’s expansion will make the highest form of such training available to more people.”

Louis Jones, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, said: “NIFRS is committed to making our roads a safer place for all road users.”

“We are pleased to support the RoSPA RoADAR group in its aim of tackling both driver and motorcycle rider behaviour to improve the standards on our roads.

“Firefighters across Northern Ireland respond to road traffic collisions every day and we witness first hand the carnage on our roads and the lives completely destroyed as a consequence of bad road user behaviour.”

“Together we all have a responsibility to make our roads safer and we would encourage members of the public to come along to these information nights to find out more about how we can all make a difference.”

1. See www.roadar.org.uk for more information about RoADAR.

2. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service www.nifrs.org

3. Check out the Ride It Right Initiative www.rideitright.org

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