A moment’s madness…Preventing Road Traffic Accidents affecting young people

L2LHere at The Terrace we are always keen to promote campaigns that support young people as they take on the responsibilities of adulthood. Pressures on them are numerous, and it is important to ensure there is the proper education in place to ensure they have all the information they need to make healthy decisions.

One such campaign is Learn2Live, or L2L, a partnership including representatives from Local Authority Road Safety Teams, Fire & Rescue Service, Police, Paramedics, Family Liaison Officers, Consultants as well as families themselves. Rosemary Pell, Manager of the Road User Support Service (RUSS) and a great friend of The Terrace has been involved in the work of L2L and we have been deeply impressed with the impact of the work of the team behind the charity in neighbouring Devon. So much so in fact, that this blog is by way of calling for the programme to be started in Somerset as soon as possible.

Statistics relating to young drivers are terrifying. One in five wil have an accident within six months of passing their test and L2L says young drivers (aged 17-24 years) are overrepresented in road collisions compared with other road users:

  • Young male drivers are more prone to being involved in collisions compared with young female drivers
  • Speeding is a key contributory factor to collision involvement including exceeding the speed limit and driving too fast for the conditions
  • Collisions involving young drivers are more likely to occur during night-time hours, on rural roads and involve a single vehicle, predominantly on Fridays and Saturdays
  • Young drivers are often involved in collisions where they have failed ot cope with unexpected situations due to their inexperience.
  • Young drivers are 50% more likely to crash in their first year
  • In 2012 approximately 31% of all KSI’s (Killed and Seriously Injured) collisions involved young people

Many of the figures relate to drivers of course, but L2L says that statistically the most dangerous seat in a vehicle is the front passenger seat, predominantly occupied by young females.

At L2L events, young people aged 16 – 19 are shown a DVD featuring a mock up of a fatal road traffic collision. They then hear the true life stories of emergency service personnel who have attended such incidents involving young drivers. Family members who’s loved ones have been killed or have received life-changing injuries tell their personal stories
too, finishing with an offending driver who has killed someone as a consequence of their driving. These are highly emotive presentations – the strap-line for the charity is ‘A moment’s madness – a lifetime of sadness….’

The L2L presentations started in Devon in 2008. Devon County Council and Devon & Cornwall Police stats for 2009 – 2013 show an overall 30% drop in the numbers of young drivers (17 -24 year olds) killed or seriously injured (KSI’s) in that time. The drop from 2013 – 2014 alone was 11%.  Although we cannot assume this news is wholly attributable to the L2L project, there is no doubt that it is having a massive impact on those young people who attend the event, with plenty of evidence on social media to support it.

Rosemary Pell says

It always seems such a tragic waste of life when a young person dies on our roads and I am saddened when I hear the harrowing stories at the ‘Learn2Live’ events, particularly those relayed by family members who have been devastated by their loss. There is no doubt that young drivers’ behaviour is being impacted by these hard hitting presentations, as indicated by the reduction in the numbers of drivers and passengers being killed or seriously injured in road traffic incidents in Devon. I feel pleased and privileged to be involved with such a worthwhile project.

ThinkAmyIn Somerset, the charity Think Amy was established to promote safe driving. Amy was a lovely Somerset 13 year old killed on 15 June 2011 by two car drivers racing each other at motorway speeds along a residential road in Taunton, Somerset. Amy was cycling along a cycle path with an adult on a clear sunny evening when the driver of the lead car lost control on a bend. The car became airborne and struck Amy. She died instantly.

Jane Hofmeister, Amy’s mother and founder of Think Amy told us:

I was delighted to be asked to be a guest speaker at two of the Learn2Live presentations (South Devon College and Plymouth Pavilion). I was very impressed with how the presentations were put together and delivered, and with the level of support that was offered both to speakers and importantly to students who attended who were affected by what they heard.

The team of presenters included members of the fire, ambulance and police services and a victim’s family member. They each recalled their personal experience of dealing with the consequences of a road traffic collision in a very moving and powerful way. It highlights very effectively the impact dangerous driving has on so many people and educates students in what they can do to help prevent other tragedies in the future.

The feedback I received from the two Learn2Live presentations I took part in was tremendous. Not just in terms of the volume of comments and replies but in the strength of support and commitment shown by the students in wanting to promote safe driving and change behaviour for the better.

In my opinion the Learn2Live presentations are a very effective way of educating students about making better choices when driving or as a passenger.

All the evidence suggests that young people who take part in the L2L events experience a real change in attitudes towards driving. With the statistics indicating a real benefit and a reduction in those horrifying figures quoted earlier, we are calling for the campaign to spread wider and into Somerset, where narrow country roads and winding faster A roads offer tempting opportunities to drive fast and dangerously.

 

 

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The emotional impact of a road traffic incident…

This post has been written by Rosemary Pell, one of our colleagues at RUSS – the Road User Support Service – a unique organisation based in the South West, offering complete rehabilitation assistance to help deal with the emotional problems and trauma as a result of a road traffic incident. For more information, do contact us here at The Terrace and we will be happy to give you more information.

Staff at Road User Support Service

Staff at Road User Support Service

This is my first post and I admit to feeling a little apprehensive!  However, my irrational fear pales into insignificance when I consider the symptoms experienced by some of my clients after they have been involved in or affected by a road traffic incident (RTI).

My main business (RUSS – Road User Support Service) professionally supports people who are finding it hard to come to terms with the aftermath of a collision, whether they are drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, witnesses or family members.  The treatment available is irrespective of the severity of the incident or of blame.  It maybe the incident was a horrific life changing event or a considered to be just a minor bump.  However, each client’s experience is unique to them and is treated with the upmost respect and care.

It was owing to my personal experience of two head on car crashes, in addition to training in trauma therapy, that has brought me to this work which I have felt privileged to be involved in and enjoyed for 17 years.

You may know someone who is suffering after a road incident who may have one or all of the following symptoms, and may have some others to add to the list:

–  Flashbacks and/or intrusive thoughts

–  Sleep disturbance

–   Impaired concentration

–   Lethargy

–   Mood swings, anger, irritability

–   Social withdrawal

–   Reduced work performance

–   Avoidance of driving, being a passenger – maybe preferring to walk or use public transport

–   Generally anxious and fearful

All of the above are normal reactions.  Some symptoms will settle down with the passage of time, others may need professional intervention.

Coping strategies, information and advice is available free on the RUSS website www.roadusersupportservice.co.uk. RUSS also has a Team of appropriately qualified counsellors to assist clients in coming to terms with the incident, one of whom, Annie Rivers, works at The Terrace in Taunton. In addition we also have empathic Approved Driving Instructors who help drivers regain their confidence and lessen anxiety when they are behind the wheel.

Next time I will write about victims, survivors and thrivers and give you a very interesting case study!

Thanks for reading my 1st Blog.  I hope you have found it interesting and helpful.

Rosemary Pell, Manager RUSS.