As many of our Sixth Form IB students and their friends reach driving age, it was a timely opportunity to invite South Wales Fire Service into the school to outline the some of the dangers associated with new and young drivers across the UK.
Although at times verging on the graphic in presentation, the intentional aim was to shock and raise awareness of the potential causes for hundreds of incidents the Fire Service deal with on a daily basis.
The presentation introduced the three crew members and explained their roles, ensuring that anyone who may have been affected by a serious accident had the opportunity to step away from the talk and seek support.
Following this, they described a picture of a real-life accident which they had recently attended; with an emphasis on the fact they had “seen and done it all”.
Along with this, the Fire Service began to touch on the key elements as to why young drivers suffer fatal collisions. This ranged from speeding to using a mobile phone, and alcohol and drugs.
Speeding was highlighted as one of the main factors associated with young drivers.
The Fire Service made clear the severity that exceeding speed limit has, not only on your decision making and reaction times, but the consequences it could have on themselves and others around them. A video was shown to reiterate this point.
Another critical element of this talk looked at the impact that not wearing a seat belt has in the event of a crash.
Again, this action comes with a £500 fine and 3 points on a license. Among drivers and front seat passengers, seatbelts reduce the chance of death by 45% and serious injury by 50%. You are also 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle.
The crew showed people’s responses as to why they choose to not wear a seat belt. Reasons such as, “It doesn’t look cool”, “It hurts my shoulder” and “It’s uncomfortable” are just a few examples.
Using a mobile phone whilst driving was another dangerous activity which the Fire Service strongly linked to injuries and fatal accidents on the road. Carrying the weight of 3 points and a maximum £1000 fine, texting whilst driving can increase the chances of crashing by at least 24 times than normal.
It was not just mobile phones the crew focused on, but also the element of distraction as a whole. This came in the form of loud music, satellite navigation and fellow passengers. A social experiment was then shown to the Sixth Formers whereby various young drivers admitted to using a phone whilst driving.
After doing so, a young girl, who was permanently disabled due to a mobile phone user, confronts the teens leaving a hard hitting and emotional message behind.
As the presentation came to a close, the crew shed light on what they called the “Domino Affect”. All of the elements discussed can have a catastrophic impact not only on young drivers themselves, but others around them. The crew described that the events of a fatal crash can ripple throughout society from family and friends to lawyers and the government. As it does so, the financial impact increases. Altogether, the talk was highly informative, eye-opening and certainly gave our IB students food-for-thought.