15 student finalists selected from more than 400 applications to take part
Northern Ireland’s search to find its first Safest Young Driver officially got under way this week after 15 student finalists were chosen to take part in the technology-backed challenge.
The students, who were selected from 400 applicants, will now have their road and driving skills tested to the max over 10 weeks using the latest in-car ‘black box’ technology.
The competition was launched earlier this year by UTV presenter Frank Mitchell with the support of all of Northern Ireland’s FE colleges, main universities.
The names of those who earned a place were revealed at a special event supported by U105 and Ballyrobert Vauxhall.
The 15 challengers – all of whom are aged between 17 and 21 – will now battle against one another in a bid to earn the title of ‘Northern Ireland’s Safest Young Driver’ and the chance to win £1,000 towards their motoring costs.
Aside from the top prize, the three participants with the highest scores for safety will receive a Skill for Life course, which includes a one-year membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, books and private coaching in preparation for the advanced driver test.
The young drivers shortlisted will have their vehicles fitted with Ingenium Dynamics, an award-winning driver behaviour management system which aims to improve driving habits over a 10-week period as part of a wider campaign to promote road safety awareness.
Tony McKeown, Sales and Marketing Director at leading accident services provider, CRASH, which is organising the competition, said:
“Figures show that young drivers remain most at risk from collisions on roads, which is why road safety is so vitally important. We hope that this innovative competition, which will put the driving skills of all 15 finalists to the test, will encourage a greater focus on road safety issues in an exciting and challenging way.”
Once installed inside the vehicle, the ‘black box’ continuously measures speed, geo-positioning, braking force, rate of acceleration and severity of cornering. The data is transmitted by a SIM card to a central computer where it is processed and assessment is made as to whether the driving behaviour is low, medium or high risk.
Iain Greenway, Director of Road Safety and Vehicle Regulation Division in Northern Ireland, said he hoped the competition would help to improve road safety awareness and driving skills among this key age group.
The winner will be announced early next year at a special reception in Stormont.
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Northern Ireland’s search to find its first ‘Safest Young Driver’ got under way this week after 15 student finalists were chosen to take part in the technology-backed challenge. The students, who were selected from 400 applicants, will now have their road and driving skills tested to the max over 10 weeks using the latest in-car ‘black box’ technology. Pictured with some of the student finalists taking part are Tony McKeown from leading accident services provider, CRASH, presenter Frank Mitchell, John Lyle from Ballyrobert Vauxhall and GAA star Jarlath Burns.
FULL LIST OF 15 FINALISTS
- Jenni Wylie, Belfast Metropolitan College
- Laura Milliken, University of Ulster
- Luke McCoy, St Mary’s College
- Portia Preston, University of Ulster
- Rebecca McIlvenna, South Eastern Regional College
- Ryan Buchanan, Northern Regional College
- Sinead Bustard, Northern Regional College
- Stuart Catterson, Queen’s University Belfast
- Brian Quigley, North West Regional College
- Emma Dallas, North West Regional College
- Andrea Skelly, South Eastern Regional College
- Deaglan McCullagh, University of Ulster
- Ellen McCartney, Stranmillis College
- Grace Somerville, University of Ulster
- Jason Carson, Belfast Metropolitan College