REAL-life accounts of fatal road accidents helped hundreds of students to understand the consequences of dangerous driving.
Shocked pupils were in tears after watching a Safe Drive Stay Alive presentation at Empire Cinema, in Greenbridge, yesterday, which included dramatic video footage of a group of teenagers in a car crash.
The audience also heard stories from a mother who lost her son, a victim who is still suffering the effects of a crash, and emergency services members who have witnessed the aftermath of collisions.
Ian Hopkins, road safety development manager at Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “There are more young people killed on the roads than any other age group.
“The whole idea of the presentation is to give them an understanding of their responsibilities as drivers and passengers and to ensure we equip them with the knowledge that will keep them safe when they are on the roads.”
Students from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Bradon Forest, Dorcan Academy, Ridgeway School, Highworth Warneford, Churchfields Academy, Isambard Community School , Nova Hreod , St Joseph’s College and Crowdys Hill School , together with groups from Swindon College , Lydiard Park Academy, Oakfield Project and Marlborough House Unit, will see the roadshow between now and next Friday.
Mr Hopkins said: “The presentation is hard hitting and upsetting, but we make no apology for that. The speakers are real people who have experienced the horror of road traffic collisions, whether as a member of the emergency services, as a victim or as a parent who has lost a child.
“It is this truthfulness that makes it so successful. We know that the young people who see this roadshow are affected, and we have seen the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads decrease since the programme started. We really do make a difference.”
Among the students who saw the presentation yesterday was 19-year-old Isabella Wolsoncroft-Dodds who is studying hairdressing at Swindon College.
“It wakes you up to things you don’t think about. Something as small as looking at your phone could kill you or your friends,” she said.
Her friend, Lauren Cole, 17, who is also a hairdressing student, said: “I cried so much. When you hear about stuff like that you don’t think it would happen. Seeing this really wakes you up.”
Safe Drive Stay Alive is co-ordinated by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, and supported by other major partners, including Wiltshire Police, SWIFT Medics, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Council, NHS Wiltshire and Honda .
Bradon Forest pupil, Callum Gunston, 16, said: “It just opens your mind to how important safety is. I will be thinking about it when I start driving. It was shocking listening to people’s experiences and comments.”