30 October 2017 - Safe Drive Stay Alive

SDSA 2

The powerful and award winning Safe Drive Stay Alive initiative is back for two weeks in November, as over 9,500 college students from across Greater Manchester will attend a series of emotionally engaging road safety performances at the Middleton Arena.

Safe Drive Stay Alive is a partnership between Greater Manchester’s emergency services, Salford Royal NHS Trust, and bereaved family members that aims to reduce the number of young driver related deaths and injuries on our roads. 

The 90 minute performances will be delivered over the two weeks, with 20 in total starting on the 6 November. It features emergency service and hospital staff, surviving victims of serious road traffic incidents and family members speaking of their own experiences of serious road incidents and coping with the consequences and wider effects.

As a new addition to this year’s performances, Brooke Trotter will share his personal struggles after sustaining a brain injury when he was knocked down by a car whilst walking home after a night out in Manchester. He explains how his young life was changed forever as he could no longer take part in the same experiences and adventures his friends went on to have.

The performances use a mixture of live speakers and film to encourage young people face up to the realities of careless driving and to realise the huge responsibilities that a driving licence brings with it.

Safe Drive 18

Research has shown young drivers are less likely to consider using a mobile phone whilst driving as a dangerous distraction and the performances will reinforce how just one quick glance, text or photo behind the wheel could have a longer term impact on their lives.

This year tougher penalties were introduced as anyone using a mobile phone whilst driving face a £200 fine and six points on their licence with new drivers risking having their licence taken away if caught within two years of passing their test.

Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said: “Our officers regularly attend road traffic collisions and can be met with some of the most horrific scenes.

“Collisions are often caused by drivers being distracted for various reasons such as mobile phones, other passengers or loud music. These factors are particularly prevalent with young people and the change in legislation back in March now means that drivers who are caught using their mobile phone within two years of passing their test will have their licence revoked.

“GMP is keen to educate the public on the importance of road safety as much as possible, which is why we are involved in Safe Drive Stay Alive.

“The first-hand accounts from those involved and affected by a road traffic collision (RTC) are so powerful and really demonstrate why driving safely with care and consideration for other road users is so important.

“The message is simple – Safe Drive Stay Alive.”

David Ratcliffe, North West Ambulance Service’s Medical Director adds: “Our staff see first-hand the devastating impact of serious road traffic collisions and the life changing injuries, not only for the victims their family and friends but also other road users and pedestrians.

“Young people can often drive with an increased confidence and invincibility, but as they hear the real life experiences, it will hopefully make them realise the benefits of safe driving and that they have a responsibility as both a driver and a passenger to help prevent more tragedy on our roads.”

Paul Etches, Area Manager Head of Prevention for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: ““In Greater Manchester our firefighters attend road traffic collisions on a daily basis, and all too often we witness the life changing injuries suffered by the casualties we rescue. Many of these casualties are young drivers and their passengers, who have just begun to enjoy the freedom and choices that driving a car brings.

“This is a hugely important project, as it demonstrates to our young people the huge responsibilities that driving also brings, and the devastating consequences that can occur if full attention is not being paid to their driving. Our emergency services in Greater Manchester want every young person to see this performance as they approach driving age.”

Carolyn Southern, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Medicine at Salford Royal sees the consequences of careless driving: “Working in a major trauma centre I see the devastating affects caused by road traffic collisions involving young people. Anything that can be done to reduce the pain and anguish caused by such tragedies is worthwhile.

“Salford Royal is proud to be part of the Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign and its aim to reduce the number of young people involved in this type of incident. This powerful and emotional event is the best thing that I have been involved with that helps to prevent the of death or life changing injuries occurring in young people involved in road traffic collisions.

To see and hear the reactions of the audience when they have attended a performance tells me that it has had an impact on them. It is a privilege to work alongside the other emergency services and together we can make difference and show young person that getting into a car either as a driver or passenger is a major responsibility. Serious consequences occur if not taken seriously. If Safe Drive Stay Alive can save the lives of young people then it’s all worth it.”

Graham Jones, Chair of the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership added: “The Partnership continues to fund the award winning Safe Drive Stay Alive project which targets young drivers and their passengers who remain disproportionately represented in fatal road collisions. This project is thought provoking and engages directly with young people in considering the consequences of taking risk. It aims to positively influence their attitude and behaviour. This year the project is also focussing on illegal mobile phone use and distraction which can both be major factors in fatal crashes.”