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Drive for life event will be a poignant lesson for pupils at WUE secondary

| 11.02.15

Sixth form student Izzy Pain, 17, will speak from personal experience when she launches a safe driving event at her school this month (11 Feb).

Izzy’s brother Ollie, 18, lost his life when the car he was driving crashed on a country road at Wick in November 2012. His friend Harry Smith, 17, who was a passenger, also died in the crash.

Like Izzy, Ollie and Harry were pupils at Katherine Lady Berkeley School in Wotton-under-Edge. They were the first of four KLB students who were killed in road traffic collisions from 2012-14.

In memory of their former pupils, and to spread a safer driving message to the next generation of drivers, the school has agreed to host Gloucestershire’s latest ‘Drive for Life’ event.

KLB Deputy Head Hannah Khan said, “Many of our students are either new drivers or will be starting to learn to drive soon. In the light of recent events and the likelihood of new, young drivers being involved in a crash, we want to do all we can to improve our students’ skills, knowledge and awareness.

“Most of all, we want to help them stay safe on the road and drive responsibly and respectfully”.

‘Drive for Life’ is organised by Gloucestershire’s Road Safety Partnership which is made up of the county’s fire and rescue service (GFRS),  Gloucestershire County Council, police and police and crime commissioner. Following the successful impact of two similar events at Hartpury College, KLB students are being given a day off studies in the hope they will learn a lesson that could save their lives.

Director of Operations for the Road Safety Partnership, Steward Edgar, who is also Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “I’ve been in my job many years and I’ve seen the heartache and tragedies arising from unnecessary risks and poor decision-making caused by inexperience.

“Nobody means to harm or hurt anybody while driving and this day aims to give students the tools to ensure it does not happen to them or their friends.”

“Being confronted with the reality and hearing from those who have lost loved ones can be tough but it’s the most effective way to help students understand the consequences of making poor driving choices.”

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who will open the event said: “I know kids may not find ‘Safe and social driving’ very cool but it is something I care deeply about and is one of the priorities of my police and crime plan.

“I speak from personal experience as both my children were involved in crashes which thankfully they survived but could easily have been much worse. Sadly, people connected with KLB know from personal experience the extent to which things can go wrong. I hope the lessons they learn will help keep them and their friends safe from harm.”

As part of a day of activities and educational workshops, students will see photographs of a road traffic collision and learn from members of the emergency services how an investigation develops. Police Family Liaison Officers will talk about the ‘ripple effect’ as they break the news to the victim’s family.

A number of outside organisations will also support the day, including the Institute of Advanced Motoring, the AA, NHS and Stroud District Road Safety Liaison Group.


Notes to editors:

  • You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera operator to the ‘Drive for Life – Safe and Social Driving’ day at Katherine Lady Berkeley School, Wotton under Edge, GL12 8RB on February 11th. Although this is a day-long event, media access will only be between 8.45-10.30 
  •  Reporters are invited to the opening ceremony and will be able to interview speakers. While they are in school they will be able to visit the activities that are taking place and can interview students whose parents have given their consent.

 ‘Drive for life’ activities include:

  •  A Police Inspector will talk to students about ‘Consequences of the Law’ and a ‘Fail to Look’ workshop will focus on identifying potential hazards and raising awareness of other road users, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists. The Fire Service will lead a workshop on the impact of a collision on the Emergency Services and a number of their vehicles will be on site.
  • All students will be able to ‘get behind the wheel’ on a driving simulator that will enable them to experience different braking distances and sit on a seatbelt sled, where they will feel the impact of hitting a vehicle at seven miles per hour. 
  • They will also learn about how distractions can affect their driving and wear ‘beer goggles’ that mimic the effects of alcohol on their driving performance. 
  • The ‘Killucar’ will also be on site, which aims to recreate some of the problems that can make a second-hand car a danger to road users. Students will be asked to identify 10 defects on the car. 
  • Students will also get practical advice on general maintenance, tyre safety and what to look for when buying your first, second-hand, car

 The hard facts:

  • One in five new drivers has a crash within six months to a year of passing their test.
  • The national casualty stats show that between 2011 and 2013 6,688 18 year old car drivers were injured compared with 4,153 48 year olds.
  • Young male drivers aged 17-20 are seven times more at risk than all male drivers – but between the hours of 2am and 5am their risk is 17 times higher (See below).
  1. 24613 male drivers aged 17-20 year were injured in 2011-13, that was around 10% of all male casualties. However, that percentage is higher during the hours between 2am and 5 am.
  2. There were 1160 17 to 20 year old male drivers injured 2011-113. The total number of male drivers injured between the hours of 2am-5am was 7467
  3. So 17 to 20 male drivers are 15.5% of all male casualties between 2am and 5am.
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