Almost 2,400 Emergency Service Drivers Certified to Higher Driving Standard Since 2014

Published Tue, 26/11/2019 - 19:08

A total of 2,384 emergency service drivers have been certified to the higher Emergency Services Driving Standard (ESDS) since the training system was introduced in 2014, it was announced today by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), along with representatives of the emergency services.

The figures were revealed to mark the fifth anniversary of the introduction of ESDS at an event in the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Facility in Marino Dublin.

An Garda Siochana have integrated ESDS into existing driver training programmes with additional internal modules relating to unique policing skills. To date circa 1300 new drivers have been certified to ESDS Level 3 with continued training delivered from our two training centres which will incorporate 

ESDS is a voluntary driving standard for emergency services drivers and was introduced by the RSA as an action in the Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020. The standard, the first of its kind in Europe, was developed in response to a need identified by many emergency service professionals for training and management of driving in emergency response situations. 

The standard incorporates three levels of training for emergency drivers, focused on building driving competence, managing stress and developing self-awareness about the impact of their driving on other road users. Drivers who undertake ESDS training are assessed and certified once they achieve the relevant standard. 

Superintendent Eddie Golden, Roads Policing Unit, An Garda Síochána, said: "My colleagues are frequently required to drive in difficult and demanding situations where an incorrect decision could have serious implications for themselves or other road users, particularly in the area of response driving. Frequently drivers tell me about the difference ESDS training has made to the way they go about their work. It is our ambition to include ESDS training for all frontline Gardaí tasked with driving our vehicles.”

Moyagh Murdock, CEO, Road Safety Authority said: "A significant feature of the development of ESDS is that it was a collaborative affair. While the RSA was the lead agency, huge commitment from An Garda Síochána, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, the Army, the Prison Service and several other bodies made it a reality. Importantly also the real lived experience of drivers who drive emergency vehicles was essential in helping to create and develop the ESDS programme. I look forward to the standard being adopted by all emergency services in the public and private sector in Ireland.”

Dave Carroll, Chairman Chief Fire Officers' Association, "The Chief Fire Officers Association are pleased to note our satisfaction with the standards of service offered to us through the ESDS initiative. The work done by ESDS has significantly increased driver awareness of road safety in respect of driving emergency service vehicle. The ESDS Training Workshops have improved our ‘trainers’ approach and the concept by the RSA of a collaborative approach and cross agency engagement in the development of ESDS has been paramount in its success to date.”

Eoin Cullen, Operations Manager, Medicall Ambulance Service, said: "We rolled out ESDS training for all our drivers mainly for the safety benefits. However, we are also seeing other significant benefits including lower fuel bills, less wear and tear on our expensive vehicles and lower insurance premiums. ESDS training has been a win all round for my organisation and we continue to encourage emergency services personnel to take the time and make the investment to keep themselves and the public safe.”

Development of the standard was led by the RSA, who worked with emergency personnel, including: the National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management, The Civil Defence, The Irish Coast Guard, The Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, HSE National Ambulance Service, The Chief Fire Officers Association and The Irish Prison Service amongst others.