News release text
Becoming safer, more aware motorists will be the focus of an event aimed at newly qualified and learner drivers from Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre in Tenterden next week.
The Ashford borough has the second highest rate of casualties from road traffic collisions per population in the county (1) and, according to recent figures young drivers and those with less driving experience are most at risk from being killed or seriously injured on the roads.(2)
The two-day event takes place on the 11 and 12 December at Tenterden Fire Station, where Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), alongside other agencies from Ashford Borough Community Safety Unit, will be delivering an informative and varied programme to around 250 pupils, with the aim of increasing awareness of the main risk factors and causes of collisions on the roads.
Driver error, speeding and reckless behaviour are the most frequent contributory factors of crashes in the Ashford borough, while failure to look properly is the most common cause(3). As well as a mock crash demonstration, there will be interactive displays including a driver simulator and seat belt sleds, challenging pupils to think about their driving habits and decisions.
Although it is illegal to use a hand-held phone to text or call at the wheel, around a third of drivers flout this law, and many others use a hands-free kit, despite both activities causing a dangerous distraction.(4)
Other distracting activities such as eating or smoking at the wheel have been shown to increase your risk of crashing, yet lots of drivers own up to it. Research shows that 14 per cent of adults are inconsistent seat belt wearers, even though using one makes you half as likely to die in a crash, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.(5)
KFRS Partnership Manager Stuart Tickle said: “Ashford District has a busy network of major roads as well as a number of busy rural routes and the safety of the users of these roads is a priority for all the agencies involved in this event.
This initiative is part of a programme of work intended to help reduce the number of crashes on our roads by engaging with and influencing young and newly qualified drivers at the start of their driving careers.”
Mrs Mayhew, Principal Teacher Sixth Form from Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, said: “We welcome every opportunity to educate our young people and recognise the tremendous value of these hands on events. This road safety event will significantly impact on the programme we already provide to ensure that students have a realistic grasp of the potential dangers when either behind the wheel or as a passenger with a young driver.”
Ashford Borough Community Safety Unit will be represented at this partnership event by KFRS, Kent Police, Kent and Medway safety Camera Partnership, Kent County Council (KCC) Road Safety Team and the Youth Offending Service.