How these people led way in drive to save even more lives on our roads
Leading Lights awards reflect countrywide push to reduce the level of carnage, says RSA expert
In 2006 Richard Alcorn was involved in a serious road traffic incident near his hometown of Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal. He lost an arm, broke his neck, shattered his pelvis and broke both hips.
Having battled to overcome his horrific injuries, Richard now devotes his time to delivering the message, 'Remember, the next time it could be you', to young people at road safety events around the country.
Richard's commitment and dedication to making our roads safer was rightly recognised at this year's RSA Leading Lights in Road Safety Awards, where he was presented with the Gertie Shields Supreme Award for road safety.
The Leading Lights in Road Safety Awards were introduced in 2008 to celebrate the outstanding efforts of people across Ireland to make roads safer for everyone.
A total of 26 people and organisations were honoured for their commitment and dedication at the 2017 awards, held recently.
One that really stood out was the award for special education, presented to St Joseph's Boarding - a residence for 22 young deaf boys, ranging from primary to post-primary.
Some of the boys are particularly vulnerable as they are profoundly deaf and do not wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. However, thanks to a team of staff and an RSA facilitator, road safety training is now being taught to boys of all ages.
The overall aim is that they will be able to travel independently without supervision from staff or older boarders.
An additional category was added to the list this year with the introduction of the Future Award. The purpose of this is to highlight and acknowledge the development of innovative technological concepts that demonstrate a real positive impact on road safety and an actual or future contribution to saving lives.
The winners of the inaugural Future Award, TAILT, have developed the world's first interactive system that provides safety, comfort and improved visibility for all cyclists.
It is composed of a set of responsive LED lights, front and rear, remote controls for turn signals and embedded 180° visibility turn signals as well as an automatic system that detects when the cyclist slows down and activates a rear brake light.
As passionate cyclists, the team behind TAILT knows it is important to be seen from all directions, communicate the intention to turn, let the cyclist rely on their own equipment and protect ourselves from water and mud.
TAILT were deserving winners for their innovative display of forward-thinking in promoting road safety.
McCaughey's Top 24-hour Service Station has been promoting road safety awareness for several years as it is close to where many traffic fatalities and serious incidents have occurred.
This year, in cooperation with Monaghan Road Safety Working Together, McCaughey's held a road safety awareness day at the service station. The purpose was to increase road safety awareness on the N2, which has a history of fatal head-on collisions above the national average.
In hosting such an event, McCaughey's contributed invaluably to road safety and set an example to other businesses to follow suit in 2018.
There were also four CEO special recognition awards: RTE Drivetime for their reporting on road safety throughout 2017; Operation Enable, a Garda-led initiative aimed at cracking down on illegal parking in disabled parking spaces; Phil Skelton, who founded the Stayin' Alive at 1.5 campaign in 2013; and finally Treacy's Bar & Restaurant.
The latter is approximately 5km from Portlaoise. They provide a free taxi service to all customers within a 12km range. Their eight-seat minibus is PSV-licensed and insured, without any help, from the Government.
This service has undoubtedly saved lives. This public house is in a rural setting with no public transport. This service cuts out any excuses for drink driving. It's an example other publicans could follow.
Each year, the RSA is indebted to the work of road safety officers in local authorities for their work in promoting road safety.
This year's Road Safety Officer Award was deservedly presented to Caroline Casey of Cork County Council.