Student’s road safety project wins national competition

Aaron Howard, a psychology graduate from Nottingham Trent University, recently won the Sean Morley Award for his work on road safety.

A project aimed at training car drivers to spot motorcyclists at T-Junctions has won a national competition.

Aaron Howard, who recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in psychology, won the Sean Morley Memorial Prize for his road safety project.

The project, created while a student at the university, involved creating a simple online game to provide car drivers with perceptual training, designed to improve their ability to spot motorcyclists whilst driving.

Aaron beat off competition from six other students from universities across the UK who were shortlisted for the prize.

The prize is open to UK undergraduates who want to showcase their thesis, research and projects aimed at improved road safety and reducing accidents. It is named after 20-year-old Sean Morley, who was killed in a hit and run incident in September 2012.

Aaron presented his project in Westminster to judges, who included experts from the road safety industry and potential employers.

He said: “I am deeply grateful to have received the Sean Morley Award and to have presented alongside such excellent competition. It is my hope that my research will go on to help improve road safety in honour of Sean. I would like to thank the psychology department and in particular David Crundall for his belief in my work."

Aaron also won the prize for best dissertation at the competition and was presented with a trophy.

David Crundall, Professor of Psychology in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Sciences, said: “I am extremely proud of Aaron winning the Sean Morley memorial prize against stiff competition. He took an innovative approach to improving road safety by training drivers to spot motorcyclists via a perceptual game. While the research is at an early stage, we hope to build upon these findings to create novel and fun methods of making drivers safer on UK roads.”

Lara Alvarez, who recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University, also won a prize for the best product for her reflective clothing project called Vivid Pedestrian.

As part of the project Lara, a fashion graduate, worked with incorporating reflective yarn into knitwear.

The yarn is manufactured using glass beads that return incoming light to the original source.

Originally from Sweden, Lara said her inspiration for the project came from using reflectors when she was growing up during the darker months and winter is when people usually wear more knitwear.

The Sean Morley Memorial Prize competition was hosted by Sean’s MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth, Craig Tracey, who has called for stronger punishments for dangerous drivers.

The event is the initiative of Sean’s parents Kerry and Gareth Dean, Dr Lucy Rackliff of Aston University, and road safety charity Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers (AIRSO).

Dr Lucy Rackliff of AIRSO said: “As an academic, I saw so much exciting and innovative road safety work being produced by students but there was no way to show it to the practitioners and policy-makers who could use it. I hope that as the award develops and grows it will become a key route for new ideas and new talent to enter the profession. The UK generally has a very good record for road safety, but there is always more we could be doing to prevent road fatalities and save other families from the grief and trauma Sean's family have experienced.”

The Sean Morley Memorial trophy will remain at Nottingham Trent University until later this year.

Student’s road safety project wins national competition

Published on 16 January 2017
  • Category: Press office; School of Social Sciences

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