11 November 2015 - Safe Drive Stay Alive event runs for second year

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Safe Drive Stay Alive has returned for a second year, with the support of Britain’s Got Talent star Ella Shaw.

This year’s initiative is bigger than ever, with more than 7,000 students from colleges across Greater Manchester attending one of a series of hard-hitting road safety performances at Middleton Arena.

Safe Drive Stay Alive was launched last year by Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, along with ourselves, Salford Royal NHS Trust, HMP Forest Bank, Greater Manchester Police and bereaved family members in an attempt to reduce the number of young driver deaths.

The 90 minute performances feature emergency service staff, convicted offenders, surviving victims of collisions and families that have lost loved ones who talk to the audience about their experiences of a road traffic collision.

Safe Drive Stay Alive is not easy watching and features a range of emotional and harrowing real-life stories from delivering a death knock or cutting somebody out a vehicle, to spending time in prison or arranging a funeral for a child.

Ella Shaw, 18, attended Safe Drive Stay Alive with Salford City College last year and was inspired to write a song following her experience.

The song is written from the perspective of somebody killed in a collision and will be used as part of this year’s performance. Ella will perform it live at a special VIP event being held later on in the month.

Ella said: "I had just turned 17 when I saw 'Safe Drive Stay Alive', I thought I was going on a college trip to drive cars and it turned out I was completely wrong. I was so baffled by the dance track that was playing as we entered the haunting big auditorium and had no idea what we had just arrived to.

“I was instantly touched and overwhelmed by some of the things I saw and heard as I was learning to drive at the time it really impacted me. I've been fortunate enough to never have lost someone in a car accident but the thought of losing someone nearly brought me to tears.  

“I'm so pleased to share my passion for composing music by writing a song personally for 'Safe Drive Stay Alive' and really hope it helps to change people’s lives like it did mine.”

Hannah Wilson lost her brother Matt in a collision and speaks about her experience on stage. She said: “Although taking part in Safe Drive Stay Alive is mentally and emotionally demanding, one thing that I am certain of is the passion and dedication shown by everyone who shares their experiences to audiences of Manchester's young people.  Safe Drive Stay Alive gives me the opportunity to share how losing my brother in a road traffic collision continues to have a profound impact on my life, in the hope that this initiative can encourage others to think about their own driving practices.

“I feel that Safe Drive Stay Alive is an incredibly important initiative that delivers the stark reality faced by service professionals and family members who have tragically lost a loved one on our roads.  Being able to deliver my own experiences following the death of my brother gives me the hope that lives can be saved through this powerful collection of real life narratives. “

The Trust's Head of Service for the Greater Manchester area said: “Paramedics see first-hand the horrific devastation road accidents cause and the ongoing effect they have on individuals and their families.  For some, life is never the same again.

“This initiative is an excellent way of educating young people about the risks and consequences of speeding and careless driving.    Seeing and hearing from those immediately affected by this type of tragedy really hits home, and will hopefully make young drivers think about their own driving in the future.”

Inspector Susan Redfern from Greater Manchester Police said: “I have been a police officer for 19 years and telling parents their son or daughter has been killed in a collision never gets any easier. There are no actors in Safe Drive Stay Alive and unfortunately everything you hear on that stage is real. If we can save just one life, it will have been worthwhile.”
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Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “Our firefighters deal with the devastating impact of road traffic collisions every day – we rescue more people from car crashes than we do from fires.

“Young people are particularly vulnerable and that’s why we’re supporting our partners across Greater Manchester to educate them through innovative schemes like Safe Drive Stay Alive.”

Peter Molyneux, Chair of the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership said: “It is important for the Partnership to provide funding for this project as a disproportionate number of younger drivers and passengers are killed or seriously injured in collisions on Greater Manchester roads. This project encourages younger people to change their attitudes and behaviours towards the implications of taking risks on the roads.”

For more information on Safe Drive Stay Alive, please visit www.SafeDriveGM.co.uk or follow @SafeDriveGM on Twitter.