New road safety initiative for school children aims to drive down road deaths

Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police Crime Commissioner.  Picture by FRANK REID
Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police Crime Commissioner. Picture by FRANK REID

A new road safety initiative aimed at driving down road deaths is being introduced across the Cleveland Police area.

Year 10 students from across the force area will attend the Wise Drive week-long event, which launched on Tuesday at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

The move is designed to educate them on the importance of wearing seatbelts; the dangers of being impaired through alcohol and drugs; the consequences of antisocial driving; injury and resuscitation; and the dangers of distractions for road users.

The interactive event itself has already been running in the Durham area for a number of years.

It features a driving simulator and a number of workshops based on some of the major ‘fatal four’ factors involved in fatal or serious road traffic collisions.

These are: Inappropriate speed; Using a mobile phone while driving; Not wearing a seatbelt; and driving while under the influence of drink and /or drugs.

By focussing on some of the major factors – which can cause fatal or serious collisions – we hope that the information could be used to help keep our young people safe

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

Shocking figures from Cleveland Police tragically reveal 212 young people aged 15 to 24 have been fatally or seriously injured on Cleveland roads in the last five years.

A total of eleven secondary schools have already signed up to take part in the initiative and it is hoped that this number will increase over time to raise even more awareness of road safety and safer driving.

Chief Inspector Graham Milne, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Unit, said: “Young road users feature disproportionately in road death statistics across the country so the aim of this event is to educate young people about road safety.

“By focussing on some of the major factors – which can cause fatal or serious collisions – we hope that the information could be used to help keep our young people safe.

“The Wise Drive event has already gained support in the Durham area and we hope to continue to gain interest in the event in the Cleveland area.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “Road traffic collisions are one of the biggest causes of deaths amongst young people in the UK.

“This event is really important for schools to get involved in as it can potentially help save lives on roads across Cleveland.”

The event is led by Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, with support from Cleveland Fire Brigade, local authorities and the North East Ambulance Service.