A hard-hitting campaign has been launched aimed at keeping young drivers safe on the roads.
As part of the campaign, Cleveland Fire Brigade will simulate a crash scene rescue during an event at Hartlepool College of Further Education to help young people pledge safety on the roads.
The demonstration will involve students being rescued from the vehicle by operational fire crews from Stranton Fire Station.
Andrew Bright, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live Co-ordinator, said: “Although the majority of young people are responsible road users, some can be a high risk on the roads and it is vital that we help steer them in the right direction when it comes to road safety.”
Each young driver will be encouraged to pledge to be slow, sober, secure, silent, sharp and sustainable, placing emphasis on sticking to the speed limit, never drinking and driving, wearing seat belts and not using a mobile phone. The pledge is also a commitment to regular eye tests and cycling, walking or using public transport whenever possible.
Road Safety Week starts on Monday with firefighters, police and paramedics joining forces to give essential road safety advice to college students across Cleveland.
Organisers say one in four 18 to 24-year-olds are in a crash within two years of passing their driving test and are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers.
Further figures show they were involved in 29% of all injury collisions in the North East between 2011 to 2015, with 38 young drivers killed and 440 seriously injured during that time.
Mr Bright said: “Friends can make a big contribution to road safety and should feel confident to speak-up as passengers when they see driver behaviour that could be putting lives in danger. Our message is be a good mate and look out for each other on the road – failing to act or saying nothing in a risky situation could result in a life changing event for someone which just might have been preventable.”
Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live programme has been driving home a ‘Fatal Four’ top reasons for injury and deaths on the roads - speeding, driving while distracted, not wearing seat belts and alcohol and drugs, with more than 85,000 students having experienced the programme since its introduction in 2005.
Road safety charity Brake has helped write up the pledge for student drivers, as they co-ordinate Road Safety Week worldwide, and also provides support services for people bereaved and injured in road crashes and the professionals who care for them.
Young people can make the Brake Pledge at www.roadsafetyweek.org/pledge