Young people make pledges to stay safe behind the wheel of a car

A Tyneside college hosted the first in a series of hard-hitting road safety awareness events being presented by emergency service organisations from across Tyne and Wear.

The Young Drivers Roadshow – part of Drive to Arrive – a road safety initiative led by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service recently parked up at TyneMet College in North Tyneside.

Firefighters teamed up with police and paramedics to provide food for thought to more than 200 potential teenage road users between 16 and 19 years old.

The intention of the initiative is to provide students who may be new to the roads or passengers of new drivers, with essential safety advice.

The advice focuses on the ‘fatal four’ causes of road casualties involving young people including speeding, distraction, drink and drug driving, and failing to wear seatbelts.

Recent figures issued by Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) showed that young drivers aged between 17 and 24 continue to be the highest risk group on the region’s roads.

Last year saw the highest number of fatalities in the region for nearly six-years with 37 young drivers losing their lives on North East roads and 590 seriously injured.

The hour-long Drive to Arrive presentation uses real life case studies alongside practical advice to hammer home how making bad decisions on the road can have life-changing repercussions.

Station Manager Graeme MacDonald, from TWFRS’s Fire Safety Department, who delivered a presentation on speed awareness as part of the roadshow, said:

“Drive to Arrive is such a powerful way of getting across a very serious message by showing young people how making unwise decisions on the road can prove catastrophic, and permanently impact people’s lives forever, in some cases with fatal consequences.

“As the roadshow tours around universities and colleges across Tyne & Wear we hope that the presentations have a long lasting effect on each and every student, getting them to think twice about the choices they make before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.”

PC Derek Longstaff, of Northumbria Police, said: “We all have a collective responsibility to make our roads as safe as they possibly can be – and education is such a crucial part in achieving that.

“Sadly, we have seen the catastrophic and irreversible consequences that reckless or dangerous driving can have. Serious and fatal collisions rip families apart and can destroy more than one life forever.

“That’s why we are proud to support Drive to Arrive and other road safety initiatives with our partners to help ensure these messages are spread as far and wide as possible.

“By working together, with everyone showing more consideration to others whilst behind the wheel, we can all help to improve safety on our roads.”

Specialist Trauma Paramedic at the North East Ambulance Service, Gary Shaw said: “The roadshow highlight real cases that the speakers have attended and the consequences of road traffic collisions due to excessive speed, distraction, no seatbelts and alcohol and drug use. These are extremely impactful and aim to help students understand how a road traffic collision effects not only them but their families, friends, other road users and the emergency services.

“I am proud to represent NEAS in this initiative and look forward to future events over the next few months.”

Diane Turner, Vice Principal of TyneMet College, said: “It was great to welcome Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service on campus recently.  Their hard-hitting Drive to Arrive campaign was very thought provoking and we are proud to support it.

“The safety and well-being of our students, as well as the community is our top priority, and these events serve as an important reminder of the fatal consequences and far-reaching effects dangerous driving can have.

“We understand the journey to road safety begins with education and the Drive to Arrive event has helped empower our students with the knowledge and awareness they need to make responsible choices on the road”.

The Young Drivers Roadshow is led by TWFRS and supported by Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service.

In support of the various presentations the students were also given the opportunity to try out the Fire Services’ brake reaction tester; to learn about the number of alcoholic units in popular alcoholic drinks …all delivered alongside other practical hints and tips on how to stay safe on the road.

Each student was also asked to make a pledge at the end of the roadshow. Here are a few examples of what the young people of TyneMet College had to say:

Elise, 17: “I pledge to keep myself and others safe when driving by not speeding, not using my phone, and always wearing a seatbelt.”

Ardian, 17, said: “My pledge is to not drink and drive.”

Ebony, 17, said: “I pledge not to use my mobile phone whilst driving.”

Throughout November, the Young Drivers Roadshow will be visiting the following learning institutions Whitburn Academy (8th), Northumbria University (21st), and Sunderland University (24th).

If you would like the roadshow to visit your sixth form, college or university then please email our Education & Engagement Manager, Sarah Schofield on