The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Setanta Insurance Services Limited, together with the 58th Cork Film Festival has launched a new road safety animated short film called ‘Wheelman’, which educates young people about the dangers of using their mobile phone while driving.
The script for ‘Wheelman’ was developed by Rory Nestor, a 6th year student from Ballyhaunis Community School, Co. Mayo, and was the winning entry in the RSA and Setanta Insurance’s road safety competition, ‘Keep Drama off the Roads’.
‘Wheelman’ transforms a scene from a criminal underworld into a strong message about road safety. The animated film is edgy, fast paced but the message is clear: taking your eyes off the road for just a moment can cause a serious collision.
The film reminds us that using your mobile when driving makes you four times more likely to crash, and that when you take your eyes off the road to look at your mobile, you’re deeply vulnerable. It also reminds us that although we are often very aware of dangers we can see on the roads, so often the biggest danger comes from a simple distraction like a text message. ‘Wheelman’ is available to view on the website: www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie or on the RSA YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/RSAIreland.
Mr Michael Rowland of the Road Safety Authority said: “It’s a sad fact, but young drivers are among the most at risk people on the road. In fact, they’re three times more likely to be killed in a road traffic collision than the rest of the population. We wanted to come up with a new way of connecting with this vulnerable group of road-users in a way that will get their attention. The film succeeds because it was developed by a young student who wanted to tackle the dangerous use of mobiles while driving among his peers, using a format that they will readily engage with.”
‘Wheelman’ encourages young people to understand the risks associated with using their mobiles while driving. Of the unnecessary deaths on our roads, driver distraction plays a role in 20-30%. In this text and social media friendly generation, the mobile phone represents one of the biggest distractions in the car.
Mr John Beatty, Setanta Insurance said: “The competition invited young people aged between 15 and 25 to come up with a short film script to address the theme of ‘texting while driving’. We wanted young people to talk to us about how to address mobile use while driving among their peer group. The winning entry, ‘Wheelman’, is engaging, challenging and provocative and really shows that young people are thinking about road safety and how it affects them and their peers. In fact, all the other entries were very strong, and it is great to see so many young people thinking about and taking action on road safety.”
Mr James Mullighan, Creative Director of Cork Film Festival said: “Cork Film Festival were delighted to partner with the RSA and Setanta Insurance to screen this film developed by this young, emerging Irish talent, with a powerful road safety message aimed at young people.”
The Road Safety Authority, in conjunction with Setanta Insurance, invited young people, aged 15-25, from all over the country to come up with a short film script for the ‘Keep Drama Off The Roads’ competition which addresses this issue.
From a huge number of entries, three runners-up: Ming Flannelly from Kilmainham, Dublin 8; Jordan Murshed from Ballincollig, Co Cork, and Luke Mulcahy, from Cashel, Co Tipperary; and an overall winner – Rory Nestor, were awarded cash prizes. Rory also got to see his script – “Wheelman” brought to life by a professional film production company.