Hard-hit­ting mes­sages from those in the know

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - BUCKLE UP -

SIXTH-FOR­M­ERS across the county are in­vited to a the­atre pre­sen­ta­tion at which the mes­sage of safe driv­ing will be drummed into them.

Coun­cils, the po­lice and the fire bri­gade each year join forces to or­gan­ise Safe Drive Stay Alive pre­sen­ta­tions in Buck­ing­hamshire.

Those giv­ing the talks are peo­ple who have been in­volved in crashes, of­fi­cers who have seen at first hand the in­juries suf­fered by peo­ple in col­li­sions and fam­ily mem­bers who have lost loved ones be­cause of road ac­ci­dents. The hard-hit­ting pre­sen­ta­tions and videos are shown on the­atre screens.

Thames Val­ley Po­lice spe­cial­ist unit man­ager Claire Ben­son said: “The pre­sen­ta­tions are very poignant and they get peo­ple to stop and think. Pre­sen­ters talk about not get­ting into a car when you feel un­com­fort­able, hav­ing the voice to stand up and say ‘I am not get­ting into a car with you’. As part of the pre­sen­ta­tions, we talk about the im­por­tance of wear­ing a seat­belt too.”

About one in four peo­ple who are killed on the roads are be­tween the ages of 17 and 24; last year 1,731 peo­ple aged be­tween 16 and 19 were in­jured on roads in Thames Val­ley and Hamp­shire.

Mrs Ben­son, who works at Amer­sham po­lice sta­tion, said: “We have par­ents come in who have lost a child and they tell very emo­tional sto­ries. It would be hard for the sixth-for­m­ers not to take away a mes­sage from the pre­sen­ta­tion.

“It is about mak­ing peo­ple think.”

The pre­sen­ta­tions have been heard by 105,000 chil­dren in the past eight years. Sixth-for­m­ers usu­ally at­tend with their schools or col­leges.

Ev­ery year, Thames Val­ley Po­lice or­gan­ises a church ser­vice for peo­ple who have lost loved ones be­cause of a road traf­fic ac­ci­dent.

Chief In­spec­tor Colin Clark, from the join op­er­a­tions unit for road polic­ing, said: “The venue is al­ways packed. It is an op­por­tu­nity for fam­i­lies to come to­gether and meet other peo­ple who have been af­fected by road death.”

To find out more about the pre­sen­ta­tions, see www.safedrive.org.uk.

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