Emergency Services helping young drivers to have Common Sense on our roads

On Monday October 7th, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) headquarters will play host to a ‘Road Sense, Common Sense’ presentation produced by road safety officers at Northumbria Police.

The multi-agency presentation – aimed at high school and sixth form college representatives – will provide an insight into the session offered to educational establishments to help their young drivers stay safe on the roads.

Road Sense consists of short films told by relatives of those killed or seriously injured on our roads. It includes live speakers from TWFRS, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and North East Ambulance Service who deliver stories of their own experience in dealing with young driver collisions.


  • Drivers aged 16-19 are a third more likely to die in a crash than drivers aged 40-49
  • One in four 18-24 year olds (23%) crash within two years of passing their driving test
  • Young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than young female drivers

Group Manager Grant Brotherton, TWFRS Head of Prevention and Education commented:

“Every serious injury on our roads is a tragedy. Therefore ensuring young drivers learn how to drive safely will help to keep all road users safe. We know that by being instilled with the right driving behaviours young people are far safer on the roads – as are other road users. This presentation provides the devastation behind the statistics – where lives and families have been left in ruins. And I would urge all high schools and 6th forms to attend the event to see and hear the session that we’d like to offer to their students.”

In Tyne and Wear, the statistics are just as worrying. While young people account for only 7% of driving licence-holders in the region, they account for 20% of all road casualties, with more than two thirds due to the action or failure of the young person themselves.

TWFRS Watch Manager Ian Stewart, from Washington Community Fire Station – one of the presenters – commented:

“We know parents are keen for their children to see this presentation. And the feedback we’ve received from colleges has been incredible. And while there are some shock elements in the presentation, we know that this works with this age group who can identify the stories that we tell.”

The presentation is closed by members of the public affected by road deaths and traumatic head injuries caused by road collisions and is built upon academic theory of storytelling and empathy.

Superintendent Helena Barron, head of Northumbria Police’s Operations Department, said:

“We are delighted at how successful the ‘Road Sense, Common Sense’ presentations have been in recent years. Not all young people are bad drivers but the statistics show they are involved in a disproportionately high number of collisions. Our priority has to be public safety and if these presentations change the behaviour of just one person then they are worth doing. Our officers see first-hand the devastation caused by a fatal accident and this presentation allows us to share that with young drivers.

Hearing an account direct from the family of someone who lost their life on the roads can have a huge impact on the audience. We know this method works and we know that parents want their children to see the presentation so we would ask schools and colleges to come along to the event.

We want to thank TWFRS for putting this event on and hope that we can work together with partners to make our roads safer for everyone.”

The event, which is free, will be held at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters on Nissan Way, Sunderland, SR5 3QY, on Monday 7th October 2019 between 9.30am and 11.30am.