As students and staff witnessed the staged fatal road traffic collision in the College carpark, Dennis Auld, Station Commander at Glengormley Fire Station explained the background to the incident and the emergency services’ response when they arrived at the scene.
As a result of the simulated ‘accident’, a pedestrian hit by the car when it mounted a kerb was confirmed dead at the scene; specialist cutting equipment had to be used to remove the car roof and free the seriously injured front seat passenger trapped in the car; the driver was breathalysed, arrested for causing death by dangerous driving and taken away in handcuffs; the backseat passenger, classified ‘walking wounded’, was taken to hospital.
Commander Auld said road accidents were avoidable and appealed to the students to think of the traumatic impact that accidents will have upon their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
“There is no way to sugar coat this: Speed kills so slow down. A speed limit doesn’t mean you have to drive at that speed. Always wear a seat belt pay and attention when you are behind the wheel. Never use your phone when you are driving – don’t even look at it and never ever drive under the influence of drink or drugs.”
In 2016/17 in Counties Antrim and Londonderry, there were 209 road collisions resulting in 235 persons being seriously injured and 27 deaths life. In the Newtownabbey district alone, eight people died on the roads with a further 49 seriously injured. The main causes of the collisions according to the PSNI were inattention, carelessness and speed.
Stephen McCartney, Head of the College’s Student Services said he was pleased with the students’ reaction to the crash re-enactment.
“It was a hard hitting but successful way to highlight the carnage that emergency services can witness when they arrive at the scene of an accident. We hope this will encourage our students to show greater care and consideration to all road users and become better drivers.”
Young drivers watching the demonstration agreed that it really made them think about road safety and their responsibility to drive more carefully.
Robyn McCollum (19) from Bangor and Leona Rankin from Carrick, who are both studying Health and Social Care at the College said it was shocking to see that damage that can be caused.
“You always think accidents happen to other people. Watching this would make you realise most accidents are preventable and that we all have a responsibility to drive more carefully,” said Robyn.