Young people urged to learn the lessons of their peers after Ayrshire crash
Hundreds of young people from across Ayrshire are being reminded of the potentially fatal consequences of dangerous driving on local roads. More than 2,000 S5 and S6 pupils descended on Ayr this week to take part in the Reckless Driving Wrecks Lives 2017 campaign.
This year young people heard about the real impact of reckless driving to families. Police Scotland explained the aftermath to two families after a convoy of boy racers speeding at up to 100mph led to the deaths of two people on the B769, near Stewarton.
Delivered to the pupils between 6-8 March at Ayr's Odeon Cinema, the campaign is aimed at improving road safety among new and learner drivers and their passengers through a series of sessions which include first-hand accounts and thought provoking presentations. Now in its thirteenth year, the initiative is organised and hosted by the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership.
5th year pupil at Belmont Academy, Lisa Burton, said the day had been a real eye-opener, "You think you're used to seeing things like this in the news and think nothing like that could every happen to you, but it could."
India Birrell, (also a 5th year pupil at Belmont Academy) said the first-hand accounts really brought home the message, "It was actually quite upsetting to hear the stories from people that deal with these kinds of situations. It made it feel more real than just a story in the paper and it was worthwhile going along to hear their side of the story."
Councillor Rita Miller, Chair of the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership's Integration Joint Board said, "Passing your driving test gives you freedom to go where you want when you want, but it doesn't give you the right to put other peoples' lives in danger.
"While most people take their responsibilities seriously there is still a very real danger for those people with the least experience on the roads and this was made crystal clear as part of this year's campaign.
"I hope that every one of the hundreds of young people who attended the sessions took something positive away with them, and that our young people always think about what might happen to both themselves and others when they sit down behind the wheel."
This year's campaign comes hot on the heels of the 'New driver scheme' which was launched at the John Pollok Centre in Ayr in February 2017. The project supports new and learner drivers, by delivering hard-hitting presentations to raise awareness of road safety issues. Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are promoting the sessions through social media so that local residents and new drivers know when a session will be run in their area.
Chief Inspector Gary I'Anson, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership said, "For any person passing their test can be a very exciting time. However we know from statistics that many young people are involved in serious road traffic collisions.
"Gaining your driving license brings with it greater responsibility. We hope that all of our road users think about how their actions can impact on not only them and other road users but the devastating consequences such incidents can cause families.
"We hope that by attending this thought provoking event will help empower young people to be safe and responsible drivers."
Local Senior Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Jim Scott said, "Our fire-fighters stand on the front line at times of emergency and are usually among the first to arrive at the scene of a road traffic collision.
"These are invariably traumatic events but our crews use their knowledge, experience and skill to reach casualties as quickly as possible so that they can be transferred to the care of our ambulance service partners.
"We do not want to attend road traffic collisions and this is why we work so hard to prevent them from happening in the first place, with education one of the most effective weapons."