Young drivers were given a hard hitting lesson in road safety today as the emergency services brought their important message to NETA Training.
From watching a fellow student cut free from a car to seeing an accident brought to life around them in virtual reality, the event aimed to highlight the fatal four areas increasing the risk of tragedy on the roads.
The dangers of drink/drug driving, speeding, driving while distracted and not wearing seatbelts, were driven home to the NETA learners during the crash course in road safety, with a particular nod to the dangers in the run up to the World Cup.
“Road safety for us is 365 days of the year but we are mindful of the World Cup about to commence and a lot of people will be enjoying themselves, taking a drink while watching the football,” said Cleveland Fire Brigade’s learn and live co-ordinator, Andrew Bright.
“We need to raise awareness about the dangers of drink-driving. Our message is be a sober driver and that means none for the road.”
He said: “We are asking drivers to think and plan ahead if they are going out and drink is involved. Leave the vehicle at home and take a taxi or have a designated driver who isn’t drinking.
“Remember, if you have been drinking the night before you could still be well over the limit on your next journey.”
He explained: “Passengers have an important role to play not only to keep themselves safe but also their friends who might be driving.
“Part of what we are trying to do today is give young people control measures and strategies to keep themselves and friends safe – that can mean something as simple as understanding the risks and having the confidence to speak up.”
The event at NETA brought together emergency services, Stockton Borough Council and Middlesbrough Council’s road safety teams, the police safety camera team and traffic officers from Cleveland and Durham Police Specialist Operations.
Stockton fire service’s Green Watch staged a crash scene, extricating engineering student, Tom Liggitt, from a car.
The 17-year-old from Thornaby who is currently learning to drive himself, said: “It does make you think what it would be like if it was real. At first it was okay but it was totally different when they put the brace around your neck and you can’t move.”
Other activities saw youngsters testing their brake reaction times using specialist equipment, they learnt about the latest laser speed detection equipment and heard about the devastating consequences of a real drink drive case study.
A virtual reality demonstration saw the students and apprentices take a virtual car journey using the latest technology and see first-hand the harrowing consequences of a crash that could have easily been prevented.
Andrew said: “Most young people are safe and responsible. Our aim is to influence the majority to be empowered to speak up to the few who may be less well informed.
“We can all play a part in keeping our roads safe and look out for each other.”
David Laycock, NETA Training’s Programme Area Leader – Engineering, said: “We were delighted to welcome Cleveland Fire Brigade to NETA Training to help deliver this important safety message to our young apprentices and students.
“The information and activities provided by the emergency services to raise awareness of the dangers on the roads really do pack a punch, but we believe it is essential that our students are given the guidance and advice they need to help them to make the right choices, keeping themselves, their friends, family and other road-users safe.”