Virtual Reality Goggles to be used to educate young drivers

Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging drivers to reduce their speed during this year’s Road Safety Week which takes place 20 – 26 November.

The week, which is hosted by road safety charity Brake, aims to raise awareness about the UK’s speeding problem which causes needless crashes and untold suffering. This year’s theme is Speed Down Save Lives.

Every day, five people are killed, and more than 66 people are seriously injured on UK roads. Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions contributes to 349 fatal crashes and 11,570 crashes in total on roads in Britain last year.

The Brigade, in collaboration with Cleveland Police, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Local Authority Road Safety Teams will be visiting colleges across Teesside to warn young drivers about the consequences of speeding. As well as delivering the Brigade’s Learn and Live sessions where firefighters, police and paramedics, share their experiences dealing with road traffic crashes, the students will also get a chance to use virtual reality goggles to experience first-hand the devastating consequences of being involved in a car crash. Fire crews will also be carrying out rescue displays showing the challenges that emergency responders face when rescuing occupants trapped in vehicle.

Andrew Bright, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live Co-ordinator, said: “For the first time this year we will be using Virtual Reality technology to give students an experience of travelling in a vehicle where excess speed and distraction results in tragic consequences. Our intention is not to shock but through our sessions with students hope to influence attitudes and behaviour to improve everyone’s safety. 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. Driving can be unpredictable and if something happens on the road ahead such as a child stepping out from between parked cars it’s a drivers speed that will determine whether they can stop in time and if they can’t stop, how hard they will hit.

“Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in one in four (23%) fatal crashes in Great Britain. This is why we want to educate young or inexperienced drivers from the start to instil in them the importance of driving safety which will hopefully save lives.”

Zoe Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “Road safety is vitally important and we are pleased to welcome back Cleveland Fire Brigade during this Road Safety Week.

“Middlesbrough College is committed to the welfare of our students, and helping them to understand how to stay safe on the road is just one part of that work.”

More than 100,000 students across Cleveland have experienced the Learn and Live Road Safety programme since its introduction in 2005.