Modifying cars, modifying behaviour
15 Mar 2010
The Police Service has unveiled its latest initiatives to promote road safety and tackle the potentially fatal issue of illegally modified vehicles.
Further education colleges across Northern Ireland have been supplied with cars from the PSNI vehicle recovery scheme, for their mechanical engineering students to learn the importance of modifying cars to a legal standard.
Road Safety Education officers have been visiting the colleges to deliver road safety advice and answer any queries the students have on legal modifications. Students will also have the opportunity to attend track days at Kirkistown racing circuit later in the year and have a chance to drive the modified vehicles on the racetrack.
Police have also secured sponsorship in kind to have a former Road Policing Mitsubishi Evolution VIII modified by local motor trade companies. Entitled ‘Project Evo’, the vehicle has been refitted and modified to show exact legal requirements and will be used to promote road safety at events across Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the initiative, Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland believes the key to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads lies in education:
“Already this year, six lives have been lost on our roads and many more people have been seriously injured. Sadly, young people aged between 17-24 years of age are consistently overrepresented in these statistics. The real tragedy is that a vast majority of road traffic collisions are preventable.
“In addition to slowing down, never drinking or taking drugs before driving, wearing a seatbelt and driving with greater care and attention, drivers must make sure their vehicles are free from defects. Modifications, particularly to a vehicle’s suspension, can be extremely dangerous if not done properly.
“Drivers must realise these dangers. We have no issue with cars being modified, providing the work is done professionally. This is what we are aiming to highlight through car modification schemes at technical colleges and the road safety educational vehicle - Project Evo.
“Sadly, police officers and our emergency service colleagues regularly witness the results of road traffic collisions. So I am appealing for all road users to consider the consequences of their actions.”
Commenting on the initiative, Minister Edwin Poots said: "I welcome this initiative to promote road safety to young drivers with a keen interest in car modification.
“It is well known that 17-24 year olds are most at risk on our roads and at this stage of these young people’s lives, it is so important that they are aware of their responsibility as car users. One wrong choice can change lives forever and too often the exuberance of youth ends in tragedy.
"Driving is an enjoyable experience and we want to inform and enhance this, in a safe and legal way, to help these young people enjoy a lifetime of safe motoring."