COLERAINE Borough Council organised a Christmas Schools Drink Drive Public Speaking Competition in Flowerfield Art Centre, Portstewart.
Coordinated for the first time, targeting young drivers to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drink driving.
Results from the competition found that the 17 to24 year old age bracket is the most vulnerable road user age group in Northern Ireland.
In the last thirty years, road casualties caused by drink driving have fallen dramatically however even today, one in seven deaths are attributed to alcohol. Last Christmas, over 200 people in Northern Ireland were detected of being over the legal limit. They were then brought before the courts for driving a vehicle or for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs
Debbie Blair, Health & Well Being Officer at Coleraine Borough Council said, “I would like to thank various partner organisations who have supported the event and actively assisted in the event planning. I also wish to thank the Department of the Environment (DOE) for providing information on past drink driving campaigns which formed the basis of the Public Speaking topics including; ‘Never ever drink and drive’; ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to cut drink driving’ and ‘Could you live with the shame’.
“I would also like to personally extend my thanks to Inspector Paul McCracken who attended the event with his wife Diane McCracken, assisting with certificate presentations to participating pupils. Inspector McCracken graciously delivered a speech touching on his professional experiences of Road Safety and also a moving tribute to the tragic loss of his daughter Shannen due to a road traffic collision. This had a big impact on young people and also audience members in an educational manner, reinforcing the importance of safe driving practices.”
First prize on the night went to Ben McCurry from Coleraine Academical Institution who won an entry onto the Shannen McCracken Memorial Safe Driving Competition and a Samsung Galaxy tablet donated by Tesco. Runner up went to Matthew Dunlop from Coleraine Academical Institution and third place winner was Olivia McCullagh from Loreto College both won a cinema voucher and a meal voucher donated by Frankie and Benny’s Coleraine.
Council thanked the pupils for their hard work as well as their teachers and parents. Adjudicators included the Deputy Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor Mark Fielding, John Miller Police Service Northern Ireland (Road Safety Policing), and Helen McKeown from Ballymoney Road Safety Committee.