Parents and students urged to be safe

Many students across the country have sat the last of their Leaving Certificate examinations in recent days, and a night of celebration is likely to follow. Against this background, the Road Safety Authority (RSA ), Alcohol Action Ireland, and Youth Work Ireland are urging parents and their young drivers to have a ‘Safer Driving Agreement’ in place if those celebrations include travel by car.

A ‘Safer Driving Agreement’ requires both the parent and the fully licensed young driver to make promises about how they will use the road as a driver or passenger. Only drivers with a full driving licence should drive unaccompanied. Any young person driving on a learner permit must, by law, be accompanied by a qualified driver who has held their full licence for two years. This keeps them away from situations that are most likely to lead to crashes.

Noel Brett, chief executive, Road Safety Authority, said “Such agreements can be verbal or written. They are not about being over-protective or unreasonable but are promises between the parent and the young driver for safer driving. Ask yourself is car use essential tonight? Can public transport, taxis, or lifts from parents be the right choice to keep everyone safe tonight and early tomorrow morning? If your son or daughter is going out celebrating their achievements check how they are travelling. Are you satisfied that the driver is competent and capable of keeping them safe? If not, seek a safer public transport alternative or agree to do the driving yourself.”

To those who have sat their Leaving Cert, Mr Brett added: “Congratulations, you have done the hard work and enjoy your celebrations. Our message is simple: we want you to enjoy yourselves if out celebrating but be sensible about the choices you make if you decide to drive or travel as a passenger with friends, and don’t put your life or the lives of others at risk. Be aware of the dangers and understand that as young and often inexperienced drivers you are at greater risk on our roads. Remember too that if you decide to drive, don’t speed, never ever drive having consumed alcohol or drugs, and wear seatbelts. Take personal responsibility. Don’t throw it all away for a short trip.”

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