Áine O’Loughlen of Co. Donegal has been awarded a Leading Light in Road Safety Award in the ‘Future’ category for 2022.
The award was presented by RSA Chief Executive Sam Waide at the 13th annual ‘Leading Lights in Road Safety’ awards ceremony at Croke Park, which took place on Tuesday, 13th December.
Áine was represented by four colleagues at the awards ceremony as she was unable to attend. Pictured above are; Lorraine Flanagan, Jennifer Muscheidt, Karen Moore and Ronan McLaughlin.
Áine was a key member of a team involved in organising ‘Speed Week’ to gain a snapshot of driver behaviour in the vicinity of schools across Ireland. The information collected is used to present the speed issue to Local Authorities; school-specific speed data, together with a school’s campaign backdrop for lower speed limits.
Áine’s expertise within the team is a combination of advocacy for lower speed limits in the region in which she works, active membership of County Donegal’s Road Safety Working Group, and her use of ArcGIS software to test and develop a bespoke speed Survey123 app for use by travel officers. The Survey123 app was an important tool during the speed week data capture.
The data formed a significant element of the report produced and authored by Aine on Speed Week. The data is an accurate representation of the situation encountered daily at schools in Ireland, be they in periodic 30 km/h zones or sited on 100 km stretches of road. Speeding is taking place and creating an inequitable space for children with unsafe driving practice exhibited by 36% of drivers.
Judges remarked, “The data and evidence collected on the Survey 123 app delivered striking and valuable results following the speed survey so it definitely proved its worth. Access to this data and the fact that it’s shared with key partners, enables the improvement of road safety”
Others awarded at the Leading Lights in Road Safety awards ceremony included Phil Skelton, from Wexford. Phil was presented with this year’s ‘Gertie Shields Supreme Award’ by Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton and Chairperson of the RSA Liz O’Donnell. His “Arrive Alive at 1.5” campaign, was founded in 2013 following his own near miss of a close passing car. Phil has since advocated for greater driver education around a minimum passing distance for vehicles overtaking cyclists and as a result, official rules of the road were updated to reflect a minimum passing distance of at least 1.5 metres for drivers travelling in speed zones over 50km/h, and at least 1metre in speed zones under 50km/h.
Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the RSA said: “Each year, these awards allow us to recognise those who are doing their utmost to keep our local communities safe and educate others on the importance of road safety. I would like to thank all those who nominated individuals, community groups or businesses in this year’s awards, and especially this year’s winners, for their incredible and inspiring work and efforts to make our roads, and in turn, our communities, a safer place for everyone.”
A total of 18 awards were presented by the RSA to individuals and organisations in recognition of their commitment and dedication to road safety at a ceremony in Croke Park. The MC on the day was television presenter Bláthnaid Treacy, who is no stranger to road safety having worked with the RSA on the ‘Now You See Me’ series on RTÉ. Bláthnaid led the day’s proceedings and awards were presented in the following categories: Education (Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary, Third Level, Community), Business, Emergency Services, Gay Byrne Media Award, Road Safety Champion, Public Sector, Future, CPC Trainer of the Year, Approved Driving Instructor, Sustainable Travel. The RSA also presented three ‘Special Recognition’ Awards to people and organisations who have demonstrated a commitment to road safety in their communities.
This year the RSA received over 80 award nominations from all over Ireland for individuals, schools, businesses, community groups, colleges and organisations which were reviewed by an independent judging panel.