The Department of Environment Northern Ireland’s (DOENI) latest road safety advertisement shows a class of primary school aged children being mown down by a car which has gone out of control and left the road.
Entitled ‘Classroom’, the ad is intended to depict the fact that the equivalent of a classroom of children (28) have lost their lives as a result of speeding since 2000.
The DOENI describes it as its “most sensitive and powerful road safety campaign yet”.
An article in the Belfast Telegraph describes the ad as “brutal” and says it has been banned from being shown before the 9.00pm watershed.
The ad can be viewed here on YouTube but please be aware of the note above about the 9.00pm watershed.
Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s road safety minister, said: “This campaign is a real wake up call. It is a particularly sensitive and compelling message.
“After all, what could be more thought provoking than the realisation that, since 2000, the equivalent of a classroom of children have been killed as a result of speeding.
“What a tragic legacy. Let’s be clear – speeding is not cool and it is not glamorous. Neither is it about control nor about ‘being able to handle it’.
“Speeding is shockingly shameful. People are losing their lives long before they have the chance to fulfil their potential. Families are being destroyed forever. Already this year 31 people have died on our roads.
“The fact is, excessive speed remains the single biggest principal factor behind road deaths in Northern Ireland, and is responsible for a quarter of fatalities.
“Therefore, the aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding.”
The DOENI points to research which shows that drivers who speed think they are in control, “but the evidence proves that speeding leads to uncontrollable consequences”.
The driver in the advert is described as “quite ordinary, perhaps just a bit over the speed limit; but when things go wrong, the consequences are horrific”.
The DOENI also says that “research shows that drivers tend to rationalise speeding as a casual factor in a collision, and tend to blame an unexpected event on a collision rather than their own behaviour when driving too fast for the conditions”.
The ad was first aired on UTV on 16 June.