Youngsters to view stark road safety production during awareness-raising week

A film of a mocked-up crash will be shown to 16-18-year-old school pupils during screenings at Oxford's King's Centre. Those onscreen will suddenly appear on stage in person as the film is paused to speak about the implications of being involved in a car crash.

Speakers at the 10.30am and 1pm presentations at the Osney Mead venue on Thursday November 20 and Friday November 21 include bereaved parents; a young woman who has been left with permanent brain damage because of a high-speed crash and a man who lost both of his legs because of an accident.

Local firefighters who have attended car crash situations and road safety experts from Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service will also give talks as part of the Safe Drive Stay Alive (SDSA) productions during the national Brake Road Safety Week (17-23 November).

Be aware

The week's theme - Look Out for Each Other - urges drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be considerate to each other on the road, messages that are also part of the county council's 365alive initiative, a programme which aims to promote a safer community through educational and preventative work.

From the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2013 12 drivers aged 24 or under were killed and 1,168 drivers were injured on Oxfordshire's roads.

In the same timeframe six passengers were killed and 521 passengers were injured in road traffic collisions involving a car driven by someone aged 24 or younger.

Road safety tips

Local road safety officers urge drivers to slow down, especially around schools and in built-up areas; to never multi-task at the wheel, such as answering a phone call and to check and then check again for motorcyclists when pulling out of junctions or when changing lanes, especially in slow-moving traffic.

Motorcyclists are advised to give themselves time to react and to expect the unexpected; to take extra care when filtering through traffic and to keep speed down, particularly in residential areas and when near schools.

Pedestrians and cyclists should wear high-visibility clothing or accessories; not take chances when crossing roads; to be aware of what is going on around them and not to be using a mobile phone or listening to music when walking across roads.

Take the 20p test

Slade Park firefighters and road safety officers will be at the Heyford Hill Sainsbury's from 10am to midday on Wednesday 19 November to highlight the importance of having safe tyres on vehicles.

Motorists will be invited there to take the 20p test by placing one in the groves of a tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible when placed in a grove then the tyre may be illegal and should be inspected by a tyre professional.

Help make Oxfordshire's roads safer

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service's Road Safety Manager, who will be attending the productions, said: "We can all help to make Oxfordshire's roads safer by tuning in to road safety - taking extra care when out and about and making sure we give our full attention when using the roads will help keep ourselves and other road users safer.

"The Safe Drive Stay Alive production is an excellent tool to help educate young people about the potential dangers of not paying attention to important road safety messages. To hear stories from young people who have had their lives dramatically changed because of being involved in a road traffic accident really does press home points."

Don't take chances

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who has Cabinet Responsibility for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "I would like everyone to put safety first and encourage road users to be considerate to one another, not to take chances and make sure they can be seen. Also, drivers and motorcyclists should slow down, especially around schools and in built-up areas."

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service carries out a number of year-round road safety education projects for younger people, including its Choices and Consequences programme, a presentation-style scheme which is delivered in schools.

SDSA is run by a partnership involving Oxfordshire County Council, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Central Ambulance NHS Trust.