Sixth formers take part in car safety workshop

Sixth formers take part in car safety workshop

18th June 2015


YOUNG motorists have been given new drive in the campaign to keep one of the most vulnerable groups safe from harm.

Students from Richmond School and Sixth Form took part in a safety workshop highlighting the potentially deadly consequences of losing control when driving.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services and North Yorkshire County Council Road Safety department combined forces to stage the Year 12 safety session including conducting checks on their cars.

At times hard-hitting, students were shown still and video images of collisions involving young people and the harrowing results of poor judgement.

They were also warned about the dangers of driving too fast for the conditions, while fatigued, under the influence of drugs or drink and while distracted by phones and social media.

The event was run as part of the Chief Fire Officer Association’s road safety week offering students sound advice and their parents some peace of mind.

Statistics show that one in eight motorists is under the age of 25 but that age group is involved in one in four collisions. In the past two years, in Richmondshire alone, three drivers were killed and 34 seriously injured in incidents.

Research also reveals that young men do not fully develop their natural risk assessment instinct until they are over 25.

Road safety officer Kevin Pratt told students: “Nearly half young drivers admit to being distracted by their phones while driving. Doing so reduces their reaction times by 50 per cent.”

Community safety officer Alyson Down said: “We would much rather talk to you now than when we are cutting you out of the wreckage of your car after a collision.”

She warned students that living in a rural area actually increased the risk. Roads were quieter so the speed of impact was often greater and help was not as readily at hand compared to living in an urban area.

“We talk about the golden hour,” she said. “This is the time during which your chances of survival increase if we can reach you and get you to a major trauma centre – for us that is either Middlesbrough or Leeds. So if you have an incident up the Dales it is virtually impossible to do this within the hour.”

For sixth former Thomas Coates the session had particular resonance. The 17-year-old, from Arkengarthdale, passed his test six weeks ago and in that time has had three incidents, including skidding on a gravelly bend, hitting a deer and being in a collision with another car.

He said: “When you live up the Dale you have to drive so the session was really useful to me and has made me think about my driving.”

Assistant head teacher Leslie Richardson said: “Every one of our students is precious to us and their friends and families so we felt compelled to do something to try and keep them safe while they hone their driving skills.

“The workshop gave them an incredible insight into the responsibility they take on when behind the wheel and also served as an invaluable reminder to everyone of the potential pitfalls of motoring.”

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