Every year some of Devon and Cornwall's sixth form students are involved in collisions. In 2018, 1,782 people lost their lives on Britain's roads and a staggering 25,484 were seriously injured (Source:Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2018). So many of these incidents could have been prevented...
The power of Learn2Live comes from the fact that the stories we tell are real and are told by the very individuals who have been personally affected. It is important to remember that these are just a very small sample - these tragic events are happening every day.
Whilst no graphic imagery is shown during the films, some viewers may find the content upsetting.
Learn2Live is supported by the Road User Support Service (RUSS) to ensure that there is professional emotional support on hand for our audience members at the main Learn2Live events. RUSS is a unique organisation based in the South West that helps people who are dealing with emotional problems and trauma following a road traffic incident.
Anyone who has been affected by a road traffic incident can find more information about RUSS.
A lot of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and greatly increases the risk of the driver crashing.
Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free:
- are four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
- are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
- fail to see road signs
- fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
- are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
- react more slowly and take longer to brake
- are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
- feel more stressed and frustrated.
Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.
Remember is isn’t just speaking – texting and using smartphones can be even more distracting than talking on your phone.
What is the punishment?
The law recently changed in March 2017.
•if you are caught it’s a £200 fine and Six points - this means that if you are within the first 2 years of passing your test that you would lose your license and have to retake your theory and practical tests again!
•if you cause an accident and kill someone you are likely to go to prison
•Police will check phone records when investigating a fatal collision or serious injury
It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or device while driving. This includes Sat-navs. It is also an offence to “cause or permit” a driver to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
It can be illegal to use a hands-free phone while driving. Depending upon the individual circumstances, drivers could be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’.
Driving too fast for the conditions is a major cause of crashes. Excessive speed contributes to 12% of all injury-causing crashes, 18% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 28% of all fatal crashes.
Around 1,000 people are killed each year on Britain’s roads because drivers and riders travel too fast.
The vast majority (80%) of car user deaths occur on rural roads, as do two-thirds of serious injuries. The nature of rural roads: narrow, bendy but with high speeds, is a likely cause for the severity of crashes. Speed is acknowledged as one of the biggest contributing factors to these crashes. The faster you go the bigger the mess.
At 30mph vehicles are travelling at 13.4m (about three car lengths) each second. One short glance away and the driver may fail to see the telltale movement of a child behind a parked car. Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30mph and 35 mph is an extra 6.4m, more than two car lengths.
At 35mph a driver is twice as likely to kill someone as they are at 30mph.
- Hit by a car at 30 mph, two out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 35 mph, five out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 40 mph, nine out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
Drivers who exceed speed limits are not only more likely to be involved in crashes, but are also more likely to commit other road traffic offences such as close following, running red lights, and drink-driving.
Learner drivers have few accidents because they are always under supervision. But once they have passed their test - and can drive unsupervised - their chances of crashing increase dramatically. Young drivers are much more likely to crash than experienced drivers.
1 in 5 drivers crash within their first year of driving.
Alcohol is a factor in one in five road deaths. Drink driving traffic collisions are still a leading cause of alcohol related deaths among young men aged 16-24 and are the cause of approximately 460 deaths, and a further 1,760 serious and 12,260 minor casualties each year.
How your body reacts to alcohol can depend on many things; your weight, your gender, your metabolism, your current stress levels, even whether you’ve eaten recently.
There is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit. How much alcohol will push you over varies from person to person.
How does alcohol affect driving skills?
- slows your brain function and reaction times by 10 to 30%
- causes blurring and loss of vital peripheral vision and a 25% reduction in the ability to judge distance and speed
- makes you over-confident and reduces the perception of risk
- for young people the accident risk increases after one drink; after two it doubles and after five it can have increased tenfold
- alcohol has exactly the same effect whether neat or with a mixer
- measures are usually bigger when you pour your drinks at home
The morning after
How much have you drunk, when did you stop drinking, and when do you plan to drive? These are crucial questions to answer if you want to remain safe and legal to drive – and avoid a drink drive conviction or being responsible for the injury or death of another road user. Alcohol stays in your system longer than you think. If in doubt, don’t drive. Even if all of the alcohol has left your system it can still be dangerous to drive with a hangover. Tiredness and feeling unwell can also affect your concentration and reaction times.
What’s the punishment for drink driving?
Anyone caught drink driving will be banned from the road for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. Refusing to provide a breath test will also result in a minimum 12 month ban and a fine.
You can also be sent to prison for up to six months. It stays on your licence for eleven years, but stays on your conscience for ever.
In a crash someone not wearing a seatbelt is more likely to die than
someone using one. Research indicates that approximately one third of
those killed in collisions weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
- Nearly one life every day would be saved if everyone wore their seatbelts.
- In a crash someone not wearing a seatbelt is more likely to die than someone using one.
- One in five young people driven by a young person don’t wear seatbelts.
- People are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys or at low speeds. This puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.
- You are twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt.
Seatbelts also reduce the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.
Seatbelts undoubtedly save lives. Even on the shortest trips, and in cases
of low speed impacts, they ensure as little contact as possible is made
between those in the vehicle and it’s interior. Penalties for non-wearers
range from a £60 ticket to up to £500 if the case goes to court.
Her father and other brother had serious injuries. The investigation showed she had only taken one short break in ten hours of driving. It also showed she had suffered a series of micro sleeps before falling asleep. Molly went to Court charged with the offence of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
Key information - Tiredness
Research shows that up to 20% of the collisions on the road are sleep related.
Young drivers are statistically more likely to crash because they are twice as likely to undertake a journey whilst feeling tired. 1 in 4 young drivers admit to continuing to drive whilst experiencing signs of fatigue; compare to 1 in 8 of the rest of the population.
Sleep related collisions tend to be more serious; with 50% more likelihood to result in death or serious injury. These collisions tend to be high speed and therefore high impact; this is because drivers do not get the chance to brake before crashing.
If you nodded off for 6 seconds whilst travelling at 70mph on a motorway; you could travel nearly 200 meters which could be enough to take you across all 3 lanes of traffic and off the road.
Men under 30 are most at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Collisions are most likely to occur in the early hours (between 2am - 6am) and after lunch (between 2pm – 4pm) this is due to natural changes in your body clock making you more likely to feel sleepy at these times of the day. There is an increased risk again if you have eaten large meals or consumed even one alcoholic drink.
Young drivers are at a higher risk of collision between 12:00 midnight and 6:00am due to a combination of alcohol and driving tired. All drivers who fall asleep have a degree of warning; sleepiness means that you cannot process information as quickly as normal and will impair your reaction time.
Key Causes of excessive tiredness or inadequate rest:
- long journeys on monotonous roads
- after eating large meals
- after drinking alcohol
- taking medications that cause drowsiness
- working long or early / late shifts
- returning from long haul flights / coming off ships & ferrys
- late night socialising
Maximum penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment if you killed someone from falling asleep whilst driving; as this would be classed as causing a death by dangerous driving.
Drug driving - the facts
The different ways that drugs can effect a driver's behaviour and body include:
- slower reaction times
- poor concentration
- confused thinking
- distorted perception
You have slow reaction times and struggle to do two tasks at once (like change gear and steer straight). Combining cannabis with alcohol magnifies its effect.
On ecstasy you have blurred vision and can’t judge distance or speed. You might suffer extreme emotions that are lethal behind the wheel, like anxiety and paranoia.
You’ll probably think you’re the best driver on the road – but you are erratic, likely to take risks, may suffer from paranoia, and even hallucinate.
Amphetamines make you overexcited, restless and can lead to risk-taking. You may experience strong emotions like fear, panic and aggression. You may get dizzy or collapse.
You are sluggish, sleepy and unable to control a vehicle.
Remember that although we have concentrated on illegal drugs, any type of over the counter or prescription medicines are drugs. Be aware that if you are taking more than one medication they may have a combination effect.
Please make sure you read the information leaflet with the medicine before driving. If in doubt speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicine or medicines you are taking.
Music, mobiles, laughing and joking. All signs of a good time, but in a car these things all increase the risk of having a collision. A big risk to a new driver is the number of friends in their car, the more passengers the bigger the risk. The risk of an inexperienced driver crashing multiply by up to five times when they have two or more passengers in the car. The time they are most likely to have a crash is at the weekend between 10pm and 5am.
Passengers can be distracting to all groups of drivers because of movement, noise and general disruption in the car. However young drivers are also affected by peer pressure from their passengers. Chimping is when the passengers spend the journey distracting you, moving around in the car, messing about with the stereo and generally behaving like chimps. The presence of friends in their car can encourage young drivers to take more risks. The collision risk for young drivers increases with each additional passenger carried. A new driver is five times more likely to crash if they have two or more passengers in the car.
Statistically, more girls die as passengers than as drivers, so it’s important for female passengers to speak up if the driver is not driving safely: they might only be speeding to try and impress.
All sorts of distractions, not just inside the vehicle, can cause collisions.
Be aware of
- rubber necking
- weather, especially when the sun is low in the sky
- other vehicles
- other road users
Fancy a £150 fine and a long walk home? The Police have the power to seize your vehicle if, after receiving a warning, you drive your car or motorcycle carelessly or without reasonable consideration for other road users and in a manner which causes alarm, distress or annoyance. An example of this might be performing screeching handbrake turns or ‘doughnuts’.
Your vehicle can also be seized if you drive without permission on common land, moorland or land not forming part of a road and in a manner which causes alarm, distress or annoyance. This includes any part of a road which is a footpath or bridleway.
The warning given is valid for 12 months and applies to the person and the vehicle. If you are seen driving in this way again your vehicle can be seized without any further warning being given. This could mean that in addition to the recovery charge of at least £150, your insurance may increase and you would have to arrange for alternative transport for yourself and anyone else in your car from the place where the Police stopped you.
Remember it is your licence and your vehicle. It might be good fun for your friends to turn your music up and encourage you to drive faster or irresponsibly, but ultimately you are responsible. Apart from being anti social and potentially dangerous it is your licence at risk, not theirs!
Anti social driving can include:
- excessive noise and loud music
- road rage
You need to tell your insurance company about any modifications that you make to your car. A modification is anything that is added or changed from what was fitted as factory standard.
Common modifications include: exhausts and end cans, wide wheels, body kits, spoilers, racing seats and harnesses, and engine modifications, among others.
Not telling your insurers could invalidate your insurance and, while your car may look good, if you drive in an anti social way it makes it easier for the Police to identify your car.