Seatbelt sheriffs patrol road safety awards

Adam Sexton, Leah Flemming, and Lucy Kirby, first class pupils from Scoil Mhuire Barryroe, Co Cork, at the Road Safety Authority Seatbelt Sheriff and Hi-Glo Silver primary school awards in Dublin Castle.

Schoolchildren are spreading the message about the importance of wearing seatbelts and being visible on roads at night, and some of the best campaigns were rewarded yesterday.

The Cross Your Belt, Not Your Fingers poster designed by first class students at Barryroe National School, Lislevane, Co Cork, took top prize in the Seatbelt Sheriff competition.

It is run by the Road Safety Authority, and encourages children to take a pledge to buckle up when travelling by car, but also to make sure everyone else does so too by displaying their Seatbelt Sheriff badges.

For second class pupils, the Hi-Glo Silver campaign encourages them to wear high-visibility when they are out walking or cycling. The idea is that they pledge to wear bright jackets, armbands or belts, and to remind their parents, family, and friends to do the same.

For their poster Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, pupils of Scoil Mhuire, Broadford, Co Limerick, received first prize in the Hi-Glo Silver competition from RSA chairwoman Liz O’Donnell.

“Through your creativity and hard work, you have shown just what can be achieved when we make road safety a vital part of our behaviour,” Ms O’Donnell told children from 10 schools at the awards ceremony in Dublin Castle.

“I would also like to commend your teachers throughout the country for the great work they do to educate our youngest road users about road safety.”

Cork and Limerick schools were also well represented among the four runners-up in the Seatbelt Sheriff and Hi-Glo Silver campaigns, including Scoil Íde from Corbally in Limerick and Berrings National School and St Joseph’s National School in Macroom.

Clooney National School in Carrahan, Tulla, Co Clare, was runner-up in both competitions, while other runner-up prizes went to pupils of Paddock National School, Mountrath, Co Laois, St Teresa’s Primary School in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, and Ardnagrath National School, in Walderstown, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The number of children under the age of 15 who died on Irish roads more than doubled last year to 14, a trend which RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said cannot continue.

“It is my hope that lessons learned through educational programmes like Seatbelt Sheriff and Hi-Glo Silver will stay with these children and these habits will stay with them throughout their teens and into adulthood, keeping themselves, their peers and their loved ones safe on our roads for years to come,” said Ms Murdock.

Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid urged parents and teachers around the country to build on the work being done in schools and at home by demonstrating safe and responsible road use.

“We are committed to supporting any initiative that helps our youngest and most vulnerable road users to learn vital road safety skills,” he said.

The Seatbelt Sheriff and Hi-Glo Silver Awards have attracted more than 55,00 entries since 2004.

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