Government asked to support driving centre


The woman who set up a safe driving programme for school pupils has called on the Government to back her plan for Ireland's first road safety training centre.

Rosemary Smith, a former rally driver who established the "Think Awareness" driving programme six years ago, said a higher driving standard must become more widespread if Ireland's "appalling" road safety standards were to improve.

"This carnage has to stop now," she said. "We need to show people how to drive more safely and reward people who have completed an advanced driving course."

Ms Smith said a 90-acre site outside Dublin, close to the M50, had been identified as a possible location for the proposed centre. The project would cost about £6.5 million.

The centre would include classrooms and tracks for novice drivers, as well as a specially designed track on which dangerous traffic situations could be simulated safely.

Ms Smith said she believed similar facilities in other European countries had reduced road accidents. "Ireland currently has the highest road death rates per capita in the EU, particularly amongst younger drivers. This new training centre could help significantly decrease the number of road deaths."

She said parents should make their children aware that cars had the potential to be lethal weapons.

Her work is supported by the National Safety Council, the National Roads Authority, insurance and motoring firms and the Garda Siochana.