Ards and North Down Borough Council will be the first Council in the UK to deliver truck safety education for primary school children. Over 100 children at Comber Primary School in County Down will learn the dangers of cycling, playing or standing too close to a lorry on Thursday 9 June 2016 with the launch of a truck safety scheme supported by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Ards and North Down Borough Council will take a refuse lorry along to the school so pupils can see the dangers for themselves. The truck will have its blind spot areas marked out on the ground to help them understand that the driver cannot see them in certain areas if they are too close.
Special steps will be used to allow the children to climb into the cab of the lorry and experience what it’s like inside, enabling them to see the blind spots from the driver’s perspective. Road safety videos will be screened in an adapted trailer and the youngsters will also receive advice and literature on road safety.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said: “FTA is delighted to support this innovative initiative to help improve road safety for young people in the borough. The first-hand experience will be invaluable when they start to cycle on the roads – awareness is key for keeping everyone safe.
“This clearly demonstrates the proactive approach of FTA members in improving the safety of vulnerable road users and follows on from the successful Safe Urban Driving scheme that FTA is now delivering in Belfast aimed at improving road safety between HGVs and cyclists on urban roads.”
Mr Leheny said he hoped the scheme would be rolled out across the whole of Northern Ireland with support from other local authorities and the Department for Infrastructure.
Jeff Shaw, Transport Manager at Ards and North Down Borough Council, said: “Ards and North Down Borough Council is pleased to be leading the way on truck safety. We believe that with the emphasis of road safety being on bicycles and cars, trucks have been overlooked. Yet, these vehicles pose a great hazard because of their many ‘blind spots’.
“We have seen that children are fascinated by trucks – especially when they are moving slowly through housing areas with their lights flashing. We want to educate children about the dangers associated with trucks and help make our community safer. I hope that thisweek’s event will be the start of many more similar initiatives.”