Road Safety News

Pupils get tips to stay safe on the roads

Friday 3rd July 2015

New and learner drivers at an Edinburgh school have been given a safety steer from a rookie racing driver.

20-year-old Christie Doran worked with sixth year pupils at George Heriot’s School to explain how her high-level training and knowledge of the importance of car control, can help new road users. Christie is an ambassador for Edinburgh-based Good Egg Drivers, a UK-wide safety initiative which has provided advice and support to thousands of students.

Heriot’s pupil Fiona Brewis said: “The talk definitely changed my outlook on driving. Some of the statistics for young drivers were really alarming, especially those around impaired driving through drink and drugs.

“The workshop was highly interactive which made it really interesting and engaging. We worked in mixed groups – some people had passed their test and some hadn’t - and discussed different hazardous driving situations and other risks we would be facing on the roads.”

Another student, Ross Keohane, said: “One of the most interesting and shocking things I learned was about the effects of drugs on driving, especially cannabis. Everyone knows not to drink and drive but many people weren't aware of the risks of taking drugs and driving.”

Christie Doran said: “My work with Good Egg Drivers involves regularly going into schools and colleges to speak with 17 and 18-year-olds. They want clear help and advice. That is what the new website delivers and it informs them in a way that young people like myself can relate to.”

The Good Egg Drivers campaign, aimed at 17-year-olds, is running events across the UK. The website offers free advice to young drivers and anxious parents including safety tips and information on the potentially disastrous consequences of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


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Road Safety Officers can and do give advice and conduct or manage education and information programmes on a daily basis. In this particular case a decision was made to enlist the help and public profile of a role model for the target age group. This is an enhancement of what we do, designed to attract and interest the people we want to reach with this programme.

I donít think we should preclude working with any racing drivers based on the ill-judged comments of one.

Specific programmes are designed to address identified issues and to achieve specific aims with their target audience. In this case it is a young driverís programme to increase their understanding and knowledge and help them to avoid high risk situations and behaviours, it is not a PR programme to enhance the image of the police.

Whilst we work with colleagues from police and other services every day and are happy to achieve added benefits for them and for us, by doing so, this must not be allowed to compromise the main aims and outcomes of any intervention Ė in this case the presence of uniformed enforcement officers may well have done so. I think police officers themselves understand this very well.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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Hugh, spot on re- ,'and avoiding collisions altogether is not impossible'.
Nigel Albright

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Ditto for your last comment as well Nigel. When I used to educate drivers, the fundamentals were space and speed - understand and master those two elements i.e. controlling your 'safety bubble' - and avoiding collisions altogether is not impossible.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Actually, Jan, if you don't mind me adding another comment (or two). If you really want young people to be safer on the roads, imprint on them the value of space and having a speed in relation to the conditions so that if things go pear shaped they have time to pull up without being a blue smoke job. 30% of crashes are front to rear end shunts and, in my view if anyone's vehicle goes into the back of another vehicle they should be prosecuted (aka HC 126). As one example the M5 crash at Taunton in 2011 involved 27 vehicles resulting in 51 injuries and 7 people burned to death. Mainly because they could not stop in time. Police driving schools used to have a following distance of 3-4 seconds (HC minimum, as you may know is 2 seconds). Space and time are your friends. Generally getting into emergency evasive action means a lack of observation and planning, tied in with a lack of anticipation and not having the right speed for the conditions. In base terms if they mess it up it's their fault. And relying on reflexes is a fool's paradise in road driving terms. Don't mean to be brutal but sometimes that's actually the best way of being kind. So, I am afraid who ever thought up the idea of racing drivers and emergency steering technique/s should really re-align their thinking. And (re-Honor's comments) racing is a totally different ethos to road driving. Simply, don't mix the two.
Nigel Albright

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Good one, Hugh.
Nigel Albright

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In my experience, there's no reason why road safety officers or other non-police personnel can give the same advice, guidance, tips etc. to drivers. If those within the education side of road safety don't know the secrets of safe driving/collision avoidance and are unable to deliver the message, it's a poor show.

Talking of racing drivers, I recall some time back, this forum reported Damon Hill's outspoken views on the 'man in the street's' driving abilities which generated a huge response from contributors and readers - a lot not supportive strangely.

Too many wannabe racing drivers on our roads I fear.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Surely the role of the racing driver in this is as a role model whose messages and endorsement of the programme give it credibility with the target audience? Much as David Coulthard fronted Scotland's Country Roads information campaign last year. It is often by using the right messenger that we can deliver the message to the intended recipients, especially with young people.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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Thanks, Jan, for your comments. I understand where you are coming from. But would it also not be an opportunity for the police in uniform to even improve thier public relations? It is a concern, that young people might be intimidated by police in uniform.
I was not suggesting the police run the program, merely that, if you are talking about improving road behaviour then they (the driving side) are by far the best people to work with. Unfortunately road safety in general makes far too little use of the knowledge and expertise which these people really do have.

Not that you have suggested this but there is, in some quarters, the automatic assumption that because a person might be a superb track/race driver they are equally competent in road driving, but this is often not the case,in my view.
Nigel Albright

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Thanks for your comments; the 'disagrees' may possibly be about having a policeman running the programme.

That's no disrespect to that noble profession; we work closely with the police for our Good egg in -car safety programme and their support is invaluable and greatly appreciated. We have also had the police attend our workshops and their feedback was excellent; they all praised it highly.

The point I'm making is we had to ask them to attend in plain clothes as we ask students questions about their driving behaviour which they are unlikely to answer freely in front of them otherwise; questions in relation to their use of speed/seat belt usage/views on drug driving.

We create a 'safe' environment where they can speak freely and which then enables discussion and appropriate response. The feedback we receive makes it very evident WHY young driver casualties are so unacceptably high.
Jan James Good Egg Safety

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I am quite staggerd that on my text below (starting, 'Thanks, Jan'), that whilst there are 3 in agreement, there are 7 in disagreement. It does pose the question about how much some of those involved in road safety really understand what it is all about.
Nigel Albright

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Jan, for your interest the current officer in charge of the driving school at Tulliallan is Inspector McLeod. The driving school is currently away on a 3 week summer break.
Nigel Albright

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Thanks, Jan.
I have no intention as such in casting aspersions on schemes which seek to help young/new drivers be safer. But racing is a different cultuure to road driving.

Testimonials have their part to play but I am more interested in content. The only bit of that on the video was about the racing driver's example of how to deal with a crash situation, which goes back to my point about not being there in the first place.

You have an excellent (probably one of the best in the country) police driving school at Tulliallan Castle. So why did not not at least liase with them and also at least have a presence from them within the programme? They are the best people to advise on safer road behavour.

Track driving is a completely different culture and mind set. One of the first (Hendon) police driving instructors I met said 'the art is knowing when to go slowly', and sometimes (for safety) that can be measurably slower than most drivers expect. Get the expert for the job in hand is my suggestion, and don't mix road with racing, even with the best of intentions. If you want a young person, then (through Tulliallan) a young police person who has just done a driving course is your best bet.
Nigel Albright

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If you watch the video, you will see that we don't glamorise speed; in fact we show the stark reality of pushing a car to its limit on a track. We also underline the reality of driving 'fast and furious' by showing the car wreck that one of the film's stars, Paul Walker's, life was taken in.

Using racing drivers - providing the grim reality of speed on UK roads (not speed tracks) is well demonstrated - is an excellent means of engaging the attention of students who inevitably don't respond well to paternalistic boring messaging. Hence the appointment of Jean Todt from the FIA as UN Envoy for Road Safety.

We carefully evaluate everything we do, and the excellent feedback underlines the effectiveness of this approach.

Feel free to attend a showcase event and see for yourself...
Jan James Good Egg Safety

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Besides, using racing/track drivers for road driving tuition/education is not where you want to be.
Nigel Albright

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I attended the Motherwell sessions and was pleased to see the students being treated as equals and not with the usual finger wagging delivery. The presentation was informative, fast paced and sprinkled with humour which made it an enjoyable experience for all, but still emphasising the importance of safe driving and the consequences of getting it wrong.
Coco, Scotland

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This 'emergency steering' thing is something the Americans are keen on. It generally results from lack of observation and planning. Over here the general principle has always been to anticipate the situation before it happens, and with the correct training, in 99% that is feasable. Once, in conversation with a former police instructor who after that was a professional advanced instructor, he talked about emergency evasive proceedures he taught to customers. I said if they are that bad I would not even want to be there. Another police driving instructor used to ask his pupils, 'Whatever the circumstances can you stop the vehicle undramatically?'. That's more like it.
Nigel Albright

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I was fortunate enough to observe one of these workshops earlier this week at Richmond Park Acadamy and I was very impressed. The course was very well researched and thought out, meaning that it was pitched perfectly for the age group. In particular I thought that the breakout sessions worked very well, testing the studentsí knowledge on crash causation, allowing them to progress from the known to the unknown, in terms of their own knowledge of what causes crashes to the legal and moral consequences of these. It was nice to see this done in a way that allowed the students to reach conclusions themselves, with the facilitator filling in any gaps. It was great to see this constructivist approach work and avoided students feeling like they were being talked down to, which is all too common with this age group. All in all it was a great example of how a research led and evidence based education intervention can work, giving the students a great base to continue further driver education from. For me this is a working example of what researchers have been prompting us to do for years.
Neil Snow, Nottingham City Council

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