Young people learn about safety behind the wheel

A GROUP of young people aged 15-18 years old from Kilkenny have completed a six-week driver education programme facilitated by SOS School of Safety through Ossory Youth.

A GROUP of young people aged 15-18 years old from Kilkenny have completed a six-week driver education programme facilitated by SOS School of Safety through Ossory Youth.

Twelve young people completed the programme and received Certificates of Achievement. This course was an educational programme following from last-year’s success, which covers all aspects of driving from the theory test through to budgeting and purchasing a car, road tax, car insurance and basic mechanical and technical matters with focus on road safety and hazard perception.

Included in the course was an emergency first-aid workshop presented by Frontline Services Paramedic Jim Dooley. Jim highlighted important aspects of personal safety and how to best avoid tragic road traffic accidents. Speed, loud music and carelessness, talking or texting on mobile phones while driving and driving under the influence of drink or drugs were some of the dangers highlighted as the major causes of tragic road accidents

The programme culminated with a driving campus on the final day where all participants received supervised instructions behind the wheel of a car with two local driving instructors and some practical hands-on tuition on basic car maintenance.

During the course, Chris stated clearly to the students at the start of every course that driving, unlike any of the other subjects taught in our schools, relates to every single one of them. For some it can even open up job opportunities. Drive carelessly and those opportunities are gone and it may even hinder whatever dreams they have to travel the world. The price to pay for reckless or dangerous driving can be far more damaging and longer lasting to their young lives than the punishment handed down from the courts.

He encouraged the young men and women to try, where possible, to start talking to their parents about driving, and developing a relationship of trust that will help them in the year or two ahead and the mentorship which is necessary and invaluable.

Chris also spoke to the group about parents behaviours while behind the wheel, saying: “As parents we need to take a look at ourselves also. Many of us spend our lives trying our best to raise our families with respect for themselves, their loved ones and others. We are aware from an early age that our children mimic us, our mannerisms and our behaviour and so we strive to set a good example and yet behind the wheel of car, in our own little world, we can change. For example, we would not hesitate, and rightly so, to take appropriate action if our child was a victim of bullying in any environment but then some us feel it is okay, at whatever speed, to ignore braking distances, and drive so close to the car in front and intimidate that road user into getting out of your way…. because you are late for an appointment, the match is starting or you’re going to miss an episode of Eastenders – tail-gating is bullying.”

The driver education programme is on its second year and Ossory Youth is delighted with the response from the course; there are already young people on the waiting list for the third phase of the programme. Ossory Youth together with its partners who make this programme possible will continue to offer this service to young people who want to learn about road safety.

For information on future courses, contact Jacinta Purcell at Ossory Youth on 056 7761200 or