Real-life video footage of a fatal car crash is being used in a new “hard-hitting” road safety awareness scheme, which launched in the north-east today.
Around two dozen 6th year students at Meldrum Academy were the first to experience the New Driver Early Intervention Scheme on Thursday.
It focuses on young people on the cusp of becoming drivers or those who’ve recently passed their driving test.
The new scheme, which was developed in Ayrshire five years ago, replaces the Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign, that has been on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.
Inspector Lorraine Mackie told the Press and Journal: “We’ve got real video footage of a fatal collision in Ayrshire, which happened back in 2014.
“It shows three young drivers getting into their cars travelling in convoy to a car meet,” the senior road policing officer said.
Footage filmed from the third vehicle at the back captures the moment of the crash and the events leading up to the tragedy.
Insp Mackie added: “We show the video up until the crash, and we show it again and discuss all the different hazards and aspects of the driving.
“The next video is a clip from the sister of one of the passengers who died at the scene and she talks about how it’s affected her family.”
Addressing a gap in learning
Police Scotland said it’s trying to “address a gap in the learning journey of new drivers” who they’re warning about the dangers of careless and inappropriate driving.
The latest scheme targets drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 who are statistically more likely to be involved in a collision.
Insp Mackie commented: “Around about a quarter of our crashes are in that age group. So, it’s definitely an area that we need to put some focus on”.
Asked how much of the graphic accident scene is shown to the video’s viewers, she replied: “They don’t see the crash. The video pauses, and then you see the crash scene.”
Seeing the trauma
“You do see the cars in a crashed position but you don’t see any bodies. You see the actual trauma of what’s happened but you don’t see the gore,” the Insp explained.
More sessions are set to take place across the north-east in the near future.
Police are working closely with local driving instructors, schools, colleges, universities and local businesses to encourage people to attend.
The scheme is a partnership between Road Safety North East Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and Motor Schools Association of Great Britain.
Young drivers are most vulnerable
Rab Dickson, director at NESTRANS (Regional Transport Partnership for the North East of Scotland) and chairman of Road Safety North East Scotland, said: “Between 2016 and 2020 around 20% of all car drivers involved in north-east road traffic collisions were young drivers, with the peak occurring among those aged between 18 and 23”.
Craig Shand, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service station commander for prevention and protection, added: “This new scheme will greatly benefit all road users in the area.
“We look forward to delivering the road safety message to as many people as possible.”
Focusing on young people
The new approach to raising awareness of safer driving differs from the large-scale gatherings of school students previously held in the north-east for the annual Safe Drive Stay Alive events.
“Doing it in smaller groups gives more of an opportunity for a proper discussion around road safety, and hazards on the road and speed,” Insp Mackie explained.
For further information on the scheme or to request a session at your organisation or in your community, email: NewDriverSchemeNorthEast@scotland.police.uk