'Driving for Better Business Works!'

USUALLY closed and cold on a January morning Ballymoney Town hall was alive and bustling from first thing with local business representatives up early for first an appetising breakfast followed by a thought provoking morning designed to make them think from a new perspective in respect of their employees, and specifically those who drive in the course of their employment.

Ballymoney and Coleraine Road Safety Committees had joined forces with support and assistance from their respective borough councils to organise a “Driving for Better Business” event. Aimed at local businesses, organisations and other bodies who have employees driving in the course of their working day, and based on reports that one in three road traffic incidents involve these employees Sam Knox, Chairman of Ballymoney Road Safety Committee saw the ideal opportunity to address this problem.

With initial financial backing from Ballymoney District Policing Partnership he conceived the idea of putting together a brief, direct, and most importantly relevant event to which local businesses and organisations would be attracted. Building on the idea, and attracting support from both Ballymoney and Coleraine Borough Councils, together with input from other Road Safety Committees this event came to fruition on Thursday Morning.

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With over 100 delegates attracted from sixty two business and organisations situated in the North West of the province the early start was rewarded with an excellent breakfast to set everyone up for the morning’s business.

Chairman for the event, John Esler of Coleraine and District Road Safety Committee invited everyone to be seated and set the scene for the morning.

After a warm welcome from the Mayor of Ballymoney, Cllr. Frank Campbell, business commenced with the first speaker of the day, Barry Griffin, a Northern Ireland based Road Safety Consultant who outlined the problems local employers needed to face up to. The keynote speech of the morning then followed delivered by Tracy Young, Fleet and Safety manager of Arval who set out her organisation’s approach to managing the safety aspects relating to company drivers and employees who drive in the course of the working day.

After a quick break, during which delegates were encouraged to browse around the exhibition stands present, the second half of the morning recommenced with a practical discourse from Rory Donnelly of Coleraine Borough Council followed by a hard hitting and thought provoking talk from Inspector John Millar of P.S.N.I Road Traffic Policing.

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The formal part of the morning concluded with an overall view from ROSPA Manager Ita McErlean followed by a lively question and answer session in which all the speakers participated having to answer a number of well thought and challenging questions put forward from delegates on the floor.

Closing remarks were made by Bryan Edgar, Assistant Director of Borough Services, Ballymoney Borough Council.

On being asked to comment on the success of the event a spokesman commented “This is indeed a very successful and positive event. We attracted more delegates than we believed possible and while I believe what they have learned today can only be of assistance to their organisations I sincerely hope they make full use of their packs with which they are going home. These packs include practical advice on setting up health and safety policies and establishing a risk analysis relevant to their individual needs.”

He went on to add: “Firstly we would like to thank all delegates who gave up their time to be here this morning and secondly I must also thank Ballymoney District Policing Partnership, Dept. Of The Environment Road Safety Division, and Coleraine Borough Council for their generous financial support, without which this very valuable event simply could not have gone ahead. This is also an excellent example of co-operation between Road Safety Committees as the practical support from Coleraine Road Safety Committee has smoothed the path to this event. I would also like to thank both Ballymoney and Coleraine Borough councils for their practical assistance in the run up to today, and finally to all those who put up exhibition stands.

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“Our one and only reason to give up our time to organise events such as this is to save lives on Northern Ireland’s roads and now all we can hope is that those who were here today go away with a positive attitude and put into practice what they have learned.”

If you want to learn more about the work of local road safety committees, or become a member please contact either [email protected] or [email protected]

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