Friday 20 September 2019 01:37:15 PM

Ballynahinch High School Get Behind The Wheel
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Young Drivers Visit Bishopscourt Racing Circuit.

A group of over 30 young people from Ballynahinch High School recently took part in a young driver’s safety event. The day was organised in association with Rowallane District Electoral Area (DEA) Forum, Drive Techniques, Bishopscourt Racing Circuit, Evo Driving Simulator, the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), PSNI and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS).

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Pupils from Y12 Ballynahinch High School with representatives of the Rowallene DEA, Down PCSP, PSNI, NIFRS, driving instructors and Bishopscourt Racing Circuit pictured before their test drives.

Councillor Patrick Brown, Chairperson of Rowallane DEA, who attended the event, said: “Statistics show that Newry Mourne and Down District Council area has the second highest level of accidents within Northern Ireland. With that in mind, the Forum fully supports this initiative which we believe will help reduce the number of accidents.

“Today’s event highlights the devastating consequences of unsafe driving and delivers some hard-hitting images and presentations which we hope will remain with the young people for the future.”

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    At the Evo Simulator were Y12 pupils from Ballynahinch High School Orrin Brown and Jonathan Wickham.

The event began with an emotional account by Dawn McKay, Isle Drive driving instructor. Ms McKay spoke about losing her best friend in a fatal car accident caused by an R driver when she had been driving behind him on a night out.

Following this the NIFRS gave a presentation on keeping yourself and others safe when driving, including avoiding distractions such as mobile phones. Students had an opportunity to take turns in driving around Bishopscourt circuit, accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor, to experience what it was like to control a vehicle.

Those not driving were able to use the Evo Driving Simulator to rate their driving ability, learn about tyre safety or experience the Virtual Reality goggle experience provided by the NIFRS. Members of the NIFRS also demonstrated how they cut people out of a vehicle to highlight the reality of what happens after a vehicle crash.

Greg Coyle, Head of History and Careers Co-Ordinator Ballynahinch High School, who was one of the teachers accompanying the students said: “This has been an incredible opportunity for our young people to learn about the importance of safe driving, the devastating consequences of vehicle accidents and how to avoid distractions. The event has been very professionally organised and without exception all I am hearing is positive feedback.”