Young drivers are far more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision during their first year of driving than at any other time, largely due to a lack of experience. Within the last five years 189 young people between the ages of 16 -24 have been killed on roads in the Thames Valley and 340 seriously injured. The Boroughs road safety team is working in conjunction with a variety of other agencies to reduce these numbers significantly.
‘For My Girlfriend’
For My Girlfriend (FMG) is a publicity campaign aimed at young drivers. It confronts the young male driver with the awful prospect of killing his girlfriend when she is a passenger in his car while he is driving too fast. Young driver research conducted in 2000 confirmed that young drivers, particularly young males, find it almost impossible to imagine killing or injuring themselves in a road crash. The study also revealed that the outcome they most dread is killing or maiming someone they are close to who is travelling in the car with them.
The campaign involves posters and other advertising materials, containing an emotionally powerful combination of words and imagery which are designed to shock and make the recipient think about the potential consequences of driving too fast. These are regularly distributed amongst sixth form pupils at educational establishments, and at pubs and nightclubs throughout the Thames Valley.
The campaign received the prestigious Prince Michael Road Safety Award in December 2004.
‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’
‘Safe Drive,Stay Alive’ has been put together by the Borough in partnership with surrounding local authorities, the Emergency Services and Thames Valley Police.
It is an innovative stage and film production aimed at Sixth form and college students and includes a filmed scenario shot on location within the Thames Valley which graphically illustrates what happens in the aftermath of a road traffic collision. The actors within it are real emergency services personnel who deal with the situation as they would in their professional capacities. It also includes live personal testimonies on-stage from real people who have been affected by road collisions, including parents whohave lost a loved one, victims who have sustained serious injury and friends of victims as well as emergency service and hospital staff. These testimonies have a powerful, emotive and thoughtprovoking effect upon students.
The production was rolled out for the first time across the Thames Valley during November 2006 with performaces at nine large venues. Over the course of the week it was delivered to over 10,000 students.
The Ape Theatre Company is commissioned by the Borough each year to deliver performances of the ‘Legal Weapon’ Theatre-In-Education production to local schools and colleges. It confronts issues of excessive speed, peer pressure and attitudes amonst young drivers. It is a highly energetic, fastmoving play which takes the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions and shows young drivers that they need to combine newly acquired skills with a safe responsible attitude towards driving if they are not to put themselves and other vunerable road users at risk.
Road Traffic Collision Reconstructions and Presentations
The Boroughs road safety team works in coordination with the Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver graphic presentations at local schools linked to reconstructions of the role of the Fire Service in responding to road traffic collisions. These involve a student acting as the ‘victim’ who the Fire Service proceed to cut out of a crashed vehicle. Churchmead School, Datchet and Altwood School, Maidenhead, have recently benefited from these presentations.
A magazine called ‘First Car’ has been published aimed specifically at young people, which contains a variety of useful information on buying and driving a first car and highlights some key road safety messages. An initiative was launched during 2006 in partnership with the Fire Service to work with driving schools operating within the Borough to distribute these to young people at the optimum time – on the day they pass their driving test.
If you would like any further information on any of the above initatives contact the Road Safety Officer.