95 Alive, the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, has launched a scheme designed to tackle anti-social driving habits before they develop and reduce the number of 17 to 24-year-olds killed or injured on North Yorkshire’s roads.
Road safety officers will train Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) to deliver the Honest Truth programme, which aims to help young drivers identify and eliminate bad driving traits.
People aged 17 to 24 make up about 10 per cent of the population, but in recent years nationally they have accounted for:
- half of injury crashes between 10pm and 5am;
- over a third of people arrested by police after failing a roadside breath test after a crash;
- half of crashes blamed on excessive speed;
- half of crashes involving only one vehicle; and
- nearly half of injury crashes in the rain.
In North Yorkshire, an average of 80 young people are killed or seriously injured each year and figures for 2009 to 2013 show that 21 per cent of the people killed or seriously injured in the county were aged 16 to 24.
The Honest Truth was set up in 2009 in South Devon following a collision that killed three young people. It now works with almost 1,500 instructors across the United Kingdom. The campaign is built around eight key messages about drink, drugs, speed, mobile phones, seatbelts, distractions, showing off and tiredness.
It uses animal/human hybrid characters to represent types of negative behaviour by drivers or passengers. For example, drivers are described as cheetahs if they drive too fast and parrots if they use their mobile phone. Instructors use the animal comparisons, along with key messages, to make young learner drivers aware of these negative driving traits and provide encouragement to avoid them.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive member for Road Safety, said: “The rural nature of North Yorkshire means there is a greater need for young people to drive and they tend to drive longer distances on rural roads than young drivers in other parts of the country.
“Regardless of what stage a learner driver is at, whether it’s their first lesson or post-test instruction, the Honest Truth will be a useful tool for instructors to help young drivers identify and avoid negative driving traits. We know that young people want to become good drivers and travel and get home safely. We are working with their instructors to help them to do so from their very first driving lesson.”
Tim Madgwick, Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police and chair of 95 Alive, said: “On average, a young person is killed on UK roads every 18 hours and another suffers a serious injury every 90 minutes. The Honest Truth sees the fire and rescue service, the police, local authorities and approved driving instructors working together to help reduce these shocking numbers.
“Because of the time instructors spend with young people in tuition and the relationships they build, we are helping them make a real difference by providing teaching resources and key messages.”
Any ADIs interested in taking part in the Honest Truth programme can call David Clark, driver training officer, on 01609 797479. More information about the programme can be found at www.thehonesttruth.co.uk.