Grieving parents appeal for driver education in schools

MTU students Victory Omorodiom, Saoirse Smith, and Elizabeth Imole feature in the new road safety campaign. Photo: Arthur Ellis.

THE parents of a four-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver have called for drivers education and road safety to be part of the secondary and primary school education curriculum in order to help tackle Ireland’s annual road death scourge.

Speaking at the Road Safety Reimagined initiative at the University of Limerick, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the death of their son Ciarán, Gillian and Ronan Treacy said road safety and responsible driving should be taught and encouraged in schools from an early age.

Gillian Treacy, who was seriously injured in the collision which claimed her son’s life, said that a combination of theory and practical road safety and driver training should be taught in schools.

The couple from Portarlington, County Laois, along with members of the emergency services that fought to save Ciarán’s life, bravely fronted the RSA’s ‘Crashed Lives’ television advertising campaign in 2016.

They were honoured on Tuesday at UL with the Oisín Crotty Road Safety Award 2024, led by An Garda Síochána and UL, and funded by ESB.

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At the event, students from UL, South East Technological University, and Maynooth University, showcased road safety projects designed to hit home the dangers posed by driving under the influence.

The winning design from MU students, which will be used as part of a Garda road safety campaign, involved the image of a dice entitled ‘Chances of you getting home safe aren’t as high as you are’.

Sergeant Tony Miniter, Limerick Roads Policing Unit, who spearheaded the initiative, said he has had to attend the homes of five families and inform them that their loved one has been killed in a road traffic collisions.

He said the impact of drink and drug-driving is “catastrophic” on those left behind and told students: “This is about generating a conversation around not wanting to take drugs and drive — not just because the Guards might catch you, but because you don’t want to.”