Youngsters to hear lessons on dangerous driving after tragic crashes

Outwood Grange Academy.
Outwood Grange Academy.

Thousands of students will hear hard hitting lessons about dangerous driving following a string of tragic crashes in Wakefield.

Roads policing offers are to drive home the dangers of what they are calling the #fatal4 - Drink/drugs, speeding, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt - in a series of presentations in schools and colleges across the Wakefield area.

The first will take place in front of 450 students at Outwood Grange Academy on February 26, as part of a programme officers would like to take around every school in the district and then expand into wider West Yorkshire.

The talks will feature graphic pictures showing the after-effects of fatal crashes and details of the consequences for both drivers and the victims.

Officers will focus on why teen drivers are the age group most likely to be in serious accidents and on how the #fatal4 factors are often key reasons for those crashes taking place.

Between January and June 2015 there were 67 serious/fatal crashes on the districts roads.

Sergeant James Farrar of the Safer Roads and Neighbourhood Support Team, who designed the presentation, said the subject of young driver safety is one that was very close to his heart.

He said: “It’s always harrowing for us as roads policing officers to attend scenes were people have been seriously injured or killed, especially when the victims are young people.

“I strongly believe that intervention and education at an early stage are the most effective ways of changing attitudes and ultimately reducing the chances of these young adults being involved in a fatal or serious injury collision in the future.

“We’ve seen some terrible tragedies on the roads in Wakefield over the past two years and as a Wakefield lad myself, I wanted to try and do something to help make our roads safer.”

The sergeant added: “I want to thank staff at Outwood Grange for allowing us to deliver our presentations. As a former pupil myself, it’s great for me to be able to launch what, we hope will be the first of many inputs, here at my old school.

“If this programme can help prevent just one tragedy on the districts roads, then it will have had a positive impact.”

Christopher Wilson, Director of post-16 education at Outwood Grange Academy, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police on the crucial matter of road safety. Keeping our students happy and healthy is always our number one priority and we look forward to this initiative helping to inform students both here in Wakefield and beyond.”

Superintendent Pat Casserly of West Yorkshire Police added: “All road users carry a degree of vulnerability. This changes throughout life, so it is wrong to assume that early life education about road safety is equally relevant to teenagers.

“Becoming a new driver, whilst enjoying greater young adult freedoms present risks that are not obvious to young people. Sergeant Farrar has therefore hit upon an important initiative to inform young people and help to reduce the tragic proportion of young people who are killed and injured on our roads; or who are subject to traffic law enforcement. I am very proud of what Sergeant Farrar has developed, as it has great potential to keep young people safe.”