University of Limerick students reimagine road safety with ‘lifesaving’ project

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, UL student Paula Byrne, UL Provost Shane Kilcommins, Alexander Bursey, and Mayor Francis Foley. Photo: Arthur Ellis.

A NEW Limerick road safety project has the potential to be a “lifesaver” according to the University of Limerick (UL) provost.

UL students were presented with Lifesaver Awards this week at a collaborative event between the University, An Garda Síochána, and Limerick City and County Council which harnessed the collective power of students to reimagine road safety.

With drink and drug driving and mobile phone use while driving continuing to be the primary causes of accidents on Irish roads, over 600 Kemmy Business School students at UL were tasked with reimagining road safety through contemporary marketing thinking, hoping to develop solutions to positively affect driving behaviour nationally.

A showcase of posters of the students’ work was launched at UL this week, with winning teams presented with Lifesaver Awards from An Garda Síochána, while prize money of €1,000, funded by Limerick City and County Council, was awarded to the winning teams.

Attending the event were Mayor Francis Foley, Assistant Commissioner of Roads Policing and Community Engagement Paula Hilman, Assistant Commissioner of the Southern Region Eileen Foster, and UL Provost Professor Shane Kilcommins.

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The winning posters – which included titles such as ‘One high can lead to a six-foot low’ and ‘Comparing the road to the pitch’ – will be displayed in Garda stations across the Mid West and will “contribute to the safety of citizens in Limerick city and county”, says UL Provost Shane Kilcommons. He added that the project “has the capacity to be a lifesaver.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said the work created by the students was “very impactful” and that by “working together we can really start to make that difference” on road safety.

A special inspiration award was presented to the family of road safety campaigner Fergal Cagney, who suffered serious spinal injuries in a road traffic collision 18 years ago but has since dedicated himself to giving presentations on road safety, working in tandem with An Garda Síochána as part of the Lifesaver Project.

The award for the Limerick man was collected on his behalf by his brother Brian, himself a UL graduate and a Garda.

The Road Safety Reimagined project was run by Dr Christina O’Connor, a lecturer in marketing at UL, and Sergeant Tony Miniter of Limerick Roads Policing.

Kemmy Business School Executive Dean Professor Finbarr Murphy praised the collaboration between UL, An Garda Síochána, and Limerick City and County Council, saying the “excellent standard at work demonstrated the passion for safety on our roads” that existed among the many participating students.