Michael McDonnell began his career as a primary school teacher before gaining a Diploma in Theology and a Degree in Divinity. His career in road safety began as a local road safety officer with Strathclyde Regional Council before joining RoSPA as road safety manager (Scotland).
Michael was the longest serving member of the Scottish Road Safety Campaign (SRSC) before taking up the post of director in 2004. One of his early contributions to the new role was to change the name of the organisation from the Scottish Road Safety Campaign to Road Safety Scotland in 2005.
Michael is an advocate of the lifelong learning approach to road safety education, based on the fact that the types of attitudes and behaviours which young drivers exhibit are laid down at a very early age, probably before they leave primary school.