No drink for drivers, say students

MOST Irish teenagers would support higher speeding fines and a no-drink policy for drivers, according to a major survey.

Almost three-quarters of second-level students believe there should be more gardaí on Irish roads, while almost half would be happy if the legal age for driving a car rose from 17 to 18.

The study was carried out among young people in more than 700 schools as part of the Think Safety First campaign run by FBD Insurance and the National Parents Council (Post Primary).

The study’s findings and the participation rates in the campaign were described as encouraging by Transport Minister Martin Cullen, who presented awards to winning students and schools yesterday.

A number of prizes were up for grabs in the campaign, which covers safety on the roads, on farms and in the workplace.

“Awareness of these issues is key to ensuring the safety of our population throughout a lifetime. The results of this campaign are really encouraging, there appears to be a real acceptance among school children that individuals and businesses must take responsibility and ensure that safety regulations are followed on the roads and in the workplace,” Mr Cullen said.

Of around 3,500 young people who took part in the survey, 78% said a ‘no alcohol and drug tolerance system’ should be put in place, while 72% agreed there should be a greater garda presence on the roads.

Most students also believe road and workplace safety should be a core subject for Junior and Leaving Certificate exams, and that employers should face on-the-spot fines for breaching health and safety legislation.

St Peter’s College in Wexford was the overall winner of the Think Safety First Schools Awards 2004, with second place going to Tallaght Community School, Dublin and third place to Beara Community School in Co Cork.

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