Crash simulators and drunk goggles send strong message to young drivers

Hundreds of sixth year pupils from across Edinburgh will test out crash simulators, drunk goggles and even sit behind the wheel of an electric bus as part of a fun but hard-hitting road safety event.

Streets Ahead schools event 2017

The Streets Ahead Edinburgh Young Driver event returns at the Corn Exchange for a seventh year from 9-12 October, hosted by Forth 1 DJ Grant Thomson.

The ever-popular event is jointly run by all partners in Streets Ahead Edinburgh, namely City of Edinburgh Council, Police Scotland, NHS Lothian, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, Transport Scotland and Scottish Safety Camera Unit (East). It is supported by Digby Brown Solicitors, who are again bringing their interactive 'mock court' to the Young Driver event. 

Returning again this year to speak to the young drivers is Laura Torrance. Laura, 34, has been a wheelchair user since 1999 when she was seriously injured in a car accident at the age of 16. 

As well as meeting Laura, sixth-year pupils attending the four-day event will have the opportunity to try out a range of fun, interactive activities highlighting the dangers of driving, such as drunk goggles, a seatbelt slide and a breathalyser. 

A new presentation by Police Scotland will further help drive home safety messages by using dash-cam footage of an incident involving a young driver, while Operation Close Pass will show pupils the safe distances for overtaking a cyclist on the road.

As well as Edinburgh Trams, Lothian are taking part in Young Driver for the first time this year. In addition to giving pupils the chance to sit behind the wheel of a stationary electric bus to highlight driver visibility first hand, they will give a presentation about the unintended consequences brought about by the seemingly small actions of other road users.  For example overtaking, undertaking or lane swerving, even at slow speeds, can cause a bus to brake sharply, sometimes resulting in fatal consequences for the customers on board.

Cycling group Spokes is also involved in the event, highlighting the need for drivers and cyclists to look out for each other on the roads. 

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport Vice Convener, said: "Our annual Young Driver events are always hugely popular. Their emphasis on fun, interactive elements combined with hard-hitting stories and messages gives sixth year pupils the chance to digest some extremely powerful safety messages about driving and sharing the road. 

"As a Council, our vision is for everybody to be safe from the risk of being killed or seriously injured on our roads. By reaching these young drivers in this way, we are helping them to keep themselves and others safe by stressing that all road users need to look out for each other." 

Inspector Roger Park of Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit said: "Keeping people safe is the cornerstone of Police Scotland and reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads plays a significant part in that process. My colleagues and I in Police Scotland are delighted to support this very useful and worthwhile event, where we will work closely with our partners in a multi-agency approach, engaging with young people who may be about to take up motoring in one form or another.

"This year, Police Scotland has introduced its Innovative ‘New Driver Early Intervention Scheme’ which we will be presenting throughout the event. The scheme provides an insight into the potential dangers associated with motoring and introduces advice and guidance which I am confident will assist in influencing lifestyle choices which in turn will contribute to our overall goal of reducing casualties on or roads."

Gordon Dalyell is a Partner and Head of Network at Digby Brown Solicitors who put on the judicial demo.

He said: "There are too many avoidable road traffic crashes in and around Edinburgh.

“But what can make these more tragic is many of them involve young or newly qualified drivers.

“The court display of our Edinburgh solicitors may be a demo but the details are based on real cases which keenly highlight the very real and potentially devastating consequences of road traffic collisions.

“If Young Drivers 2017 helps save even one life, then it’s a project Digby Brown is proud to support.”

Sarah Boyd, Lothian Operations Director, said: "Getting behind the wheel for the first time is exciting and we are delighted to be able to attend the City of Edinburgh Council’s Young Driver event to offer support and guidance to the next generation of drivers. As the city population expands and road space decreases, it is important to understand how to share road space responsibly and our presentation aims to make other road users aware of the direct impact their driving can have on our customers and buses.  

"By working with the Council at this year’s Young Driver event we hope to develop awareness of how the smallest of actions whilst driving can have life changing and lasting consequences."

Kenneth Rogers of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “Road collisions are the biggest cause of death for young people aged between 15 and 19. 

"This is why the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is keen to raise awareness of the dangers and help save lives. We hope this multi-agency approach to encourage safe and responsible driver behaviour, and showing the possible consequences of irresponsible driving gets the message across." 

The facts (from Road Safety Scotland):

- An average of 54 accidents a week in Scotland involve a young driver aged between 17 and 25.
- They account for ten per cent of all licence holders, yet young drivers are involved in 20 per cent of accidents.
- Sadly, those accidents lead to an average of one death and more than 70 people injured every week.

Check out Edinburgh Young Driver on Twitter@edinyoungdriver and follow the hashtag #edinyd.


"It really made me stop and think about what can happen; and how it's not just your life that can be ruined but how it affects your whole family too."  (Sixth year pupil, Craigmount High School)

"Pupils and staff found all events thought-provoking, while the interactive elements allowed for fun but at the same time a serious message was being given." (Staff member, Queensferry Community High School)

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