The Road Safety Authority has launched the Emergency Services Driving Standard (ESDS), a new driving standard for emergency service drivers in Ireland. This standard is the first of its kind in Europe, and sees Ireland leading the way in setting standards for emergency service driving.
The new ESDS aims to reduce the risks associated with driving emergency service vehicles, to ensure patients and passengers are safe and comfortable and to ensure road safety best practice is employed when responding to an emergency.
ESDS is the result of collaboration between the RSA and An Garda Síochána, Civil Defence, Defence Forces, Irish Coast Guard, Irish Prison Service, National Ambulance Service, the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council, National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, and the Chief Fire Officers Association.
The Road Safety Authority has overseen the development of this new Standard which will be voluntarily implemented by the principal emergency service organisations in Ireland.
ESDS aims to reduce collisions on our roads by creating a culture of safe and responsible driving among emergency vehicle drivers and a greater awareness of and management of risks. This involves ensuring all Emergency Service drivers are trained to the appropriate level by an ESDS trainer from the principal emergency service organisations, with the RSA providing oversight of the standard by acting as the accrediting body.
Ahead of the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe said: “This new Emergency Services Driving Standard aims to develop and sustain a spirit of cooperation, caution and courtesy in emergency service drivers. This important new Standard will provide emergency service drivers with clear information and training on how to drive competently and safely. As we launch this set of standards today, I also want to thank the emergency services for the lifesaving work they do every day.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said, “The ESDS initiative will be a significant contribution to road safety and will be vitally important in collision prevention. It was identified in the Government Road Safety Strategy 2013 – 2020 as one of the actions to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads,”
“ESDS sets out three levels of driving for emergency services drivers to suit their duties, from the competent, socially responsible driving, to the use of Roadcraft, and also for emergency response driving where required,”
Ms Murdock went on to say, “Every day, the emergency services save lives in the course of their work. ESDS will help emergency service drivers to recognise, understand and manage the risks they face when responding and reacting to complex driving situations. ESDS has been built from the experience of emergency services in a collaborative approach and we would like to thank the principal emergency services and related organisations for their engagement on this important initiative,”
“We would also like to take this opportunity to remind all road-users to follow the RSA guidelines on how to share the road safely with emergency service vehicles so that they can give adequate space and time to those responding to an emergency situation.”
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey, An Garda Síochána said, “We welcome the launch of the ESDS today. This standard will help our drivers immensely and we’re delighted to be leading the way in the Europe for setting such a standard for emergency drivers.”
Bill Smith, Director General of the Civil Defence, said “We welcome the introduction of the ESDS and this common driving standard, as it recognises that socially responsible driving attitude is the key to safe driving.”
Chris Reynolds, Director of the Irish Coast Guard, congratulated the ESDS panel on this excellent initiative. “IRCG continually seeks to impress on its drivers the critical importance of safe driving at all times and we look forward to further engaging with ESDS.”
Colonel Eamon O’Siochrú, Director, Transport Corps of the Defence Forces, said, “The Defence Forces are delighted to be part of this initiative which will ultimately lead to safer roads by helping our Defence Forces drivers continue to have a systematic approach to driving and anticipating common hazards when driving.”
Martin Dunne, Director of the Health Service Executive National Ambulance Service (NAS), welcoming the new ESDS, said that “The launch of this Standard will be of invaluable assistance in our efforts to improve the safety of services to our staff, other road users and to our patients.”
Barry O’Sullivan, Acting Director of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council, said “The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council are delighted to have been involved in the development of these standards, which we believe will greatly reduce the risks associated with emergency services driving.”
Mr Pat Fleming, Chief Fire Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade, also welcomed the launch of this initiative. “This ESDS Driving Standard will assist the emergency services in making safer progress to incidents and act responsibly at all times on our roads, hence the Standard launched today is extremely welcome.”
Sean Hogan, National Director of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management said, “This new Standard and training is of great benefit to all emergency service organisations, helping our teams to assess the driving behaviour we employ on the roads, and especially in understanding the risks and hazards that are faced by emergency service drivers.”
Michael Donnellan – Director General of the Irish Prison Service, said “Our drivers will be hugely benefitted by the introduction of this driving standard. The knowledge, skills and correct attitude will help them to achieve a standard of excellence in their driving.”
A booklet outlining ESDS is available in hard copy by request from the RSA and is also available to download from www.rsa.ie.