Local school pupils were among more than 3,000 being targeted this week by a hard-hitting campaign promoting safe driving.
Run in partnership by the emergency services, NHS Tayside and local councils, the Save Drive Stay Alive roadshow ran in the Reid Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Aimed at senior secondary school pupils, the campaign tackles the issue by giving young drivers a stark insight into the realities of fatal road traffic collisions.
Although casualty numbers are reducing, young drivers and their passengers remain a vulnerable group when it comes to collisions, injuries and fatalities across Scotland.
In 2012 19 people were killed and a further 180 people were seriously injured on the Tayside’s and while not all collisions were attributable to young drivers, many included young people in the 17 to 25 age group. Factors in young driver crashes include inexperience, lack of awareness, distraction and at times peer pressure and over-confidence.
The campaign includes a Safe Drive Stay Alive theatre production which attempts to change attitudes towards safe driver and passenger behaviour. The overall aim is to give the audience a true sense of their own mortality and clearly illustrate the real dangers that arise when road safety is neglected.
It also uses video footage of a reconstructed road traffic collision, designed to educate and increase the awareness of all young people whether they intend to become drivers or not.
Dave Stapley, Scottish Fire and Rescue service area manager said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to be involved in the delivery of the Safe Drive Stay Alive Roadshow to all fifth year secondary school pupils across the Tayside area. Many road traffic collisions within Tayside involve young people. This hard-hitting presentation seeks to raise young people’s awareness of the responsibilities which come with passing their driving test.
“There is a lack of awareness of the feeling of responsibility that goes with sitting behind the wheel of a car. Too many young people, especially young men, think they have learned to drive long before reaching the age of 17 by playing simulated computer driving games. When they crash their car spectacularly on screen and the game is over all they have to do is press the restart button to enjoy the thrills again. Real life is not like that.”
Chief Superintendent Hamish Macpherson, local policing commander for Tayside, said the campaign, established in 2007, is an effective and impactive way of educating young people to become careful, considerate and safe drivers and road users.
He continued: “This Tayside-wide partnership event draws together the experiences of many individuals to show vulnerable young people the gravity of being in charge of a vehicle, which if driven inappropriately can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Young drivers are inexperienced and can only become good drivers by practicing and improving their skills. Too often the emergency services witness at first hand the tragic end result of young drivers taking risks.”