Gary Doggett of Pro-Social Drivers Programme.
A Donegal-based road safety programme aimed at rehabilitating dangerous drivers has won the Gertie Sheilds’ Supreme Award in Road Safety at this year’s Road Safety Authority (RSA) ‘Leading Lights in Road Safety’ Awards.
Run by Gary Doggett and supported by Judge Paul Kelly and Garda Inspector Michael Harrison, the Pro-Social Drivers Programme is a driver rehabilitation programme which was established in 2012 to address the high instances of anti-social driving in Co Donegal. The programme consists of four modules; Emotional Control, Social Responsibility, Driving Under the Influenceand Consequences. Referrals to the programme come from the Courts Service, the probation service, solicitors, concerned parents and individuals who recognise the need for training in this area. To date, 18 programmes have been completed with a total of 180 participants.
A total of 37 individuals and organisations were honoured for their commitment and dedication to road safety at the ninth annual ‘Leading Lights in Road Safety’ Awards which were presented by RSA Chairperson Liz O’Donnell and RSA Chief Executive Moyagh Murdock in Farmleigh last week. MC for the day was RTÉ News Correspondent Teresa Mannion, with awards presented in categories including media, education, business, emergency services and public sector.
The RSA also presented 18 Special Recognition Awards to people who have demonstrated a commitment to road safety in their communities. Among the recipients were the team at the ‘Shaun Doherty Show’ on Highland Radio. For years, the award-winning Shaun Doherty Show has been Highland Radio’s flagship programme. Shaun has occupied the mid–morning slot since late 1990, and in that time, Shaun and his team have consistently made road safety a part of their agenda and addressed key issues, from speeding to seatbelts.
Among the winners was RTÉ Radio One, who won the National Media award for their Documentary on One production, ‘We Decide Who Lives or Dies’. Following a number of news reports in early 2016 relating to driver behaviour - particularly in Donegal - reporter Ronan Kelly investigated the behaviour of young drivers in Donegal. The team recorded interviews with those who are working in the community to improve driver behaviour as well as among young drivers. In the week between their visits to Donegal, five people died on the roads around Letterkenny which gave the programme added relevance and poignancy.
Ulster GAA was also presented with a Special Recognition Award for their road safety programme ‘Live to Play’. Launched in 2010, the ‘Live to Play’ programme aims to raise awareness and educate members on how best to stay safe on the roads. The programme is delivered in partnership with the County boards, with a particular focus on educating young people about road safety. One element of the programme is the Primary School Focus; this has evolved from a simple colouring competition to the introduction of an online learning tool and the production of a road safety video. This project asks children to show a greater awareness of road safety issues, by using the Interactive Learning Tool to understand road safety messages and then relay their learning back to their peers by using the arts; drama, music, song, dance, role-playing and so on.