Hard-hitting road safety campaign targets county’s young drivers

Harrowing real-life stories of the devastation caused by dangerous driving will be brought to life on stage in Oxford this week (28 – 30 November) as part of the Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign to educate young people in Oxfordshire on the importance of being safe on the road.

Bereaved parent Mags Wells is one of those taking part in the production. She lost her 18 year old son, Kirk, in a high speed crash: "The car was in pieces, the sight of it never leaves my mind. I’m at a loss why he didn't speak up to ask the driver to slow down or demand to be let out of the vehicle. As a result he paid the ultimate price for not speaking out. That’s why I volunteer to be involved with Safe Drive Stay Alive as I want to prevent something similar happening to the young people in the audience.”

In 2015 a third of all road casualties on Oxfordshire's roads involved a young driver (17-24 years old). This year (up to end September 2016), more than 1 in 4 deaths on the road involves this age group, with young drivers being the highest casualty group for road traffic collisions. That is why Oxfordshire County Council’s road safety education team and firefighters are supporting ‘Safe Drive Stay Alive’ – a dramatic and impactful live show, exploring the circumstances that lead to a road traffic accident and the consequences that follow.

Thousands of sixth-formers and college students from Oxfordshire will be attending performances of the potentially life-saving road safety presentation next week. The ‘Safe Drive Stay Alive’ production will be staged at the Kings Centre, Oxford on Monday 28th, Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th November.

The production includes a filmed scenario which shows a group of young people on a night out whose car is involved in a serious crash. As the on-screen drama unfolds, members of the emergency services that are featured in the film step out onto the stage.

The film is then paused while emergency service workers, parents and affected individuals appear on stage to talk about:

  • Their real-life experiences of road collision scenes
  • What action they would take if the film collision was a real-life experience
  • The reactions of the driver and passengers
  • The medical implications
  • How the trauma of a road collision affects them personally.

The presentations are organised and run by all the emergency services across the Thames Valley, along with hospital accident and emergency staff and local authority road safety teams. The event is aimed at new or pre-drivers to educate them about the importance of being safe on the road. Young drivers are much more likely to be involved in a crash on the roads, often due to inexperience and a lack of knowledge of the risks.

Mick Clarke, Road Safety Manager, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The Safe Drive Stay Alive production is a really powerful way to bring to life difficult messages to make young people aware of their responsibilities as new, and potential drivers, or as passengers travelling with their friends, and of the devastating consequences that can occur otherwise.

“Sometimes it can be lack of experience but it may be due to the poor choices the driver has made. Choices such as driving a bit too fast for the road conditions, driving with alcohol or drugs inside them, or being distracted by something like a text message or phone call, all seriously affect their ability to concentrate on the road.

“All of these factors increase the risk of a collision, but if you are not wearing a seatbelt you are now much more likely to be killed or suffer life changing injuries."

5,000 expected at Oxford shows

Oxfordshire County Council anticipates that more than 5,000 17-24 year olds from schools and colleges all over the county will visit a Safe Drive Stay Alive (SDSA) Road Safety presentation in Oxford, over the three days.

Safe Drive Stay Alive is a partnership between Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police Joint Roads Policing Unit, South Central Ambulance NHS Trust and Road Safety Officers from councils across the whole Thames Valley area. Since it began in 2005, over 150,000 young drivers have been educated by the campaign. This month, the production will be seen by over 23,000 young people across Thames Valley and Hampshire.

To find out more

For more information about the campaign, visit www.safedrive.org.uk

Advice on how to stay safe on the roads is available online at http://www.365alive.co.uk/cms/content/roads