Costs of safety DVDs defended
ROAD chiefs have defended spending thousands of pounds on hard-hitting safety videos. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, which leads the county's road safety partnership, wants to use the Northern Ireland-produced “Live and Learn” DVDs to promote greater awareness among young drivers.
ROAD chiefs have defended spending thousands of pounds on hard-hitting safety videos.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, which leads the county's road safety partnership, wants to use the Northern Ireland-produced “Live and Learn” DVDs to promote greater awareness among young drivers.
But it has emerged the videos have not been passed by the British Board of Film Classification and cost £6,000 per disc - causing concern among some campaigners.
The council's own officers have also admitted careful consideration will have to be given to how some parts of the films are shown to young people.
Studies reveal young people account for about a third of all deaths on the county's roads, and road campaigners claim hammering home the safety message early is vital to cutting the fatality rate amongst inexperienced drivers.
After showing a pilot pack to young people in Ipswich last year, the fire service, which is part of Suffolk County Council, is looking to buy a further seven DVDs at a cost of £42,000.
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Funding for the purchases has been offered by the county's various publicly-funded crime and disorder reduction partnerships.
Fire bosses want to send copies of the DVDs out into the various districts and show them at sports clubs, youth clubs and sixth forms.
John Field, chairman of the council's public protection scrutiny committee, said he was “astounded” when he learned how much they would cost.
He said: “It seemed a really excellent piece of work. One was shown to us and it was one of those films where you watch it and nobody says anything afterwards. It had a real impact.
“But why are they charging £6,000 each? Then again, if it works once and it saves one life, then it's got to be worth it.”
Reg Hartles, of Protest Against Council Tax Suffolk, said: “How can they justify that? Road safety is obviously very important and it is a good idea to have DVDs on the subject.
“But for that sort of money you could pay for a group of young people to make their own DVD about road safety and stage their own sets - that would probably bring home the message. It is a question of judgement.”
Gary Phillips, Suffolk's deputy chief fire officer, said: "Preventing people being injured or killed on Suffolk's roads is a key objective for the county council. Following the introduction of the Learn and Live educational package we have seen a reduction of around 21% of people injured or killed on Suffolk's roads.
“The cost of a fatality at a road traffic collision runs into the millions of pounds. If by targeting resources we can reduce deaths and the associated costs to the community then it is resources well used."
Roger Vincent, spokesman for the accident prevention charity Rospa, commended the fire service's desire to get the safety message out to children and said the cost of producing safety videos, which often had a very limited circulation, was “horrendously expensive”.