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Road safety event aims to reduce young driver fatalities

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Cleveland Road Safety Partnership supports Project EDWARD

As reported by Cleveland Fire Brigade, the Cleveland Road Safety Partnership hosted a Road Safety Event on 15 May 2024 to support Project EDWARD (Every Day Without A Road Death).

The event took place at NETA Training Group in Stockton-on-Tees and aimed to promote safer driving habits among young drivers aged between 17 and 24, the highest risk group on North East roads.

Statistics show that while young drivers hold only 6% of driving licences in the region, they account for 17% of driver casualties.

Nationally, these figures are 9% and 22%, respectively. Over the past five years, 37 young drivers and passengers have been killed, and 589 seriously injured in avoidable collisions.

Key activities and demonstrations

The Road Safety Event featured various activities designed to engage and educate young drivers.

One of the highlights was a staged crash scene where NETA learners observed the post-crash response by Cleveland Fire Brigade.

Andrew Bright, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Road Safety Co-ordinator, explained: “This event gave apprentices a real hands-on opportunity to learn about the key risks that can face drivers and passengers on our roads, but more importantly has helped give them strategies to avoid the dangers that can so often wreck lives.”

Participants also experienced a virtual reality car journey simulating the consequences of a road crash.

The event addressed the ‘Fatal Four’ causes of road casualties: speeding, distraction, drink and drug driving, and failing to wear seatbelts.

Engagement from multiple agencies

The event saw contributions from various agencies, including the Police Safety Camera Team, who demonstrated the latest laser speed detection equipment.

The National Highways and Cleveland Police Collision Investigation Unit were also present to discuss their roles and provide road safety advice.

Andrew Bright presented a case study on the impact of drink driving, highlighting the severe consequences of driving under the influence.

NETA Director, Sean Johnston, expressed support for the initiative: “We are pleased to support Project EDWARD in the delivery of such important safety messages to our learners.

“Many of our students and apprentices will be new drivers or just starting to learn, as such it is vital they fully understand the potential risks of the roads.”

Importance of education for young drivers

Sergeant Mark Kewley, Chair of the Cleveland Road Safety Partnership Delivery Group, emphasised the need for targeted education for young drivers: “Young people are some of the most vulnerable drivers we see on our roads, accounting for 22% of driver casualties nationally.

“These figures need to come down, and as we look to educate drivers on road safety to reduce the number of serious and fatal casualties, young drivers are one of the main age groups we will target.”

The Cleveland Road Safety Partnership includes representatives from Teesside’s four local authority areas, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Fire Brigade, and National Highways.

IFSJ comment

The Cleveland Road Safety Partnership’s support for Project EDWARD through the recent Road Safety Event is a commendable effort in addressing the high incidence of road casualties among young drivers.

By focusing on practical, hands-on experiences and engaging young drivers with realistic scenarios, the event successfully highlighted the critical importance of safe driving practices.

The involvement of multiple agencies, including Cleveland Fire Brigade, Cleveland Police, and National Highways, ensured a comprehensive approach to road safety education.

These collaborative efforts are essential in fostering a culture of safety among new and young drivers, ultimately aiming to reduce the alarming statistics of road fatalities and serious injuries.

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