Teenagers from schools in Belfast were the recipients of a hard-hitting road safety message at the award-winning Police Service of Northern Ireland Road safe Roadshow held in Belfast Model School for Girls today.

The roadshow, devised by the Police Service of Northern Ireland Road Policing Unit and supported by AXA Insurance and Northern Ireland Road safety Partnership, was performed to nearly 1000 sixth formers on Wednesday, 7th February 2024.

Recognising that young people aged 25 and under are one of the age groups most at risk of being killed or seriously injured on our roads each year, the roadshow aims to bring its message to those about to start out on what will, hopefully, be a long and safe motoring career.

The roadshow, which so far has been seen by tens of thousands of teenagers across Northern Ireland, depicts graphically how a night out can end in tragedy and permanent disability.

The story is told by a police officer, a paramedic, a fire officer, an Accident and Emergency consultant, a young man who was jailed following a serious road traffic collision he was involved in, and a young person, who was paralysed following a horrific collision. The narrative is interspersed with music, video clips and television and cinema advertisements.

Sergeant Verner of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Road Policing Education team said: "The Roadsafe Roadshow has been a major success and it enables us to bring a road safety message to thousands of young people in the highest risk group. We have no doubt that the road show shocks, perhaps even horrifies, our young audiences.

"We believe that showing realistically just what happens on our roads has an impact on the students who attend. Our hope is that after seeing the roadshow they realise that they are not indestructible; that they are as vulnerable on the roads as the next person and that they must respect the roads and other users.

"One of the hardest parts of any police officer's job is breaking the news of the death or injury of a loved one to relatives. It is especially heart-breaking when that news is of a young person whose whole life lay ahead. Most traffic collisions could have been avoided and we hope that the road show will help young people realise the consequences of their actions.”

Julieann Martindale, AXA’s branch operations manager, said: “AXA is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Road Safe Roadshow which is now entering its 20th year. 

“The programme will visit up to 10 locations over the coming six months and more than 8000 students are scheduled to attend. The ongoing tragedies that occur on our roads each and every day emphasise the need for programmes like this. Its hard-hitting and emotional content is a great way of amplifying the risks of dangerous and careless driving to this impressionable age group.

“I compliment the Police Service of Northern Ireland and all involved. Personally, I have sat through the roadshow numerous times and its real-life account of a teenage road fatality is incredibly compelling.”
A spokesperson from the Northern Ireland Road Safety Partnership said: “The Partnership is committed to contributing to reducing the number of collisions and causalities on our roads by preventing and detecting speeding offences.  We are now delighted to also sponsor the Roadshow as a means of reaching young people and helping them make safer choices on the roads.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “We want young drivers to be much more aware of the dangers of careless driving and the Roadsafe Roadshow is an ideal way to communicate this message.
“The key to reducing the number of young people killed on our roads is education and although the message is hard hitting and blunt, I do hope it positively influences young drivers to take more care on the roads.”

Chair of the North Belfast DPCSP Conor Maskey said: “I was glad the North Belfast DPCSP were able to support, in a small way, this vital event. Safety on our roads is such an important issue, and events like this, while hard hitting, help to reinforce the dangers faced by us all on the roads, not least our young drivers.
 Education through events like this Roadsafe Roadshow help to keep us all safe, and our emergency services attending these events will hopefully reduce the need to attend serious road traffic collisions in the future.”