Road safety campaign launched

FIREFIGHTERS in Suffolk are today launching a hard-hitting road safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.

FIREFIGHTERS in Suffolk are today launching a hard-hitting road safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.

Learn and Live was due to be officially unveiled at Ipswich Town Football Club to players and staff today as part of Road Safety Awareness Week.

The 40-minute presentation, which has already been successfully piloted at Otley College, is targeted at 16 to 21-year-olds and is expected to go county-wide next year.

It includes pictures of crews cutting youngsters from wreckages, and clips of public information films showing the affects of road crashes on victims and families.


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Tommy Sawyer, one of the firefighters running the course, said: “This is something I believe will have an effect. We have had a lot of good feedback so far and I believe we are the right agency to deliver something like this because of our background.

“I have seen enough death, blood, gore and injuries to last me a lifetime.”

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Mr Sawyer said the course was being run by firefighters at grassroots level and they were having to seek funding themselves.

A session was held at Otley College on Thursday and had an impact on youngsters and staff.

Philip Winfield, principal at the college, said: “I found the presentation absolutely thought provoking and it held the audience spell-bound.

“It is very hard hitting but it gets the message across.”

The presentation, which includes firefighters talking about their feelings when attending road crashes, left some youngsters in tears, while others left the room.

The main messages to youngsters were to slow down, wear a seat belt, not use a mobile phone while driving and not drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

It comes two weeks after The Evening Star launched its Light Up, Belt Up, Shut Up campaign to try to make the roads safer.

It is urging people to put their vehicle and bicycle lights on as the mornings and evenings grow darker, wear seat belts and put down their mobile phone while driving.

Philip Charles, 17, was one of the students to watch the presentation.

He said: “I don't wear a seatbelt all the time to be honest, even when I'm driving with my mates, but I will do now.

“At the end they played videos one after another and you can relate to them and think it sounds familiar.

“Now, if my friends are speeding then I will tell them to slow down.”

And Matthew Crane, 16, said: “It was shocking. When I started driving (off-road) I thought it was just a bit of fun but now I realise it's a privilege.”

Do you think the course is a good idea? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks: http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/PolicingandPublicSafety/Fireandrescueservices/; www.eveningstar.co.uk/news

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