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Virtual Reality crash used in road safety campaign

A virtual reality public service advertisement will show young people what is like experience a car crash.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has launched the 'Your Choice' road safety education programme aimed at young drivers and passengers aged between 16 and 24-years-old.

The "extremely hard-hitting" virtual reality simulation using specially designed goggles and headphones immerses the user as a front-seat passenger in a car which is being driven erratically before being involved in a road traffic accident.

Flashing imagery is used to recreate the experience of a crash and the viewer then experiences the dramatic sights and sounds of emergency services arriving on the scene and cutting open the vehicle as they attempt to rescue the casualties.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer & Director of Community Protection said in a statement on the NIFRS website: "This technology allows every user wearing a headset to experience the stark reality of being trapped in a vehicle and to observe up close the work of the emergency services at the scene of road traffic collision.

"It's uncompromisingly direct and honest. We are reminding young people that they have a choice to decide what kind of road user they and their passengers will be. Those decisions are vital to their safety and the safety of other road users."

In 2017, 823 people were seriously hurt and 63 died in road crashes in Northern Ireland. The 16-24-year-old age group are statistically more likely to be involved due to irresponsible road user behaviour.

Ken Webb, Principal of South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn, where the programme was launched said: "The virtual demonstrations were extremely hard-hitting, and we hope it will hit home with our young people the consequences of poor decision making and highlight the dangers on our roads.

"The elements of the event will help to engage our students in considering the role that they have in preventing deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

"The event really hit a nerve with our students and made them think - which is what the event was all about."

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