Road safety message to be driven home as Safe Drive Stay Alive returns for 15th year

The importance of road safety will be highlighted to thousands of north-east pupils when a hard-hitting film and presentation returns next month.

Representatives of the emergency services, road accident survivors and those who have lost family members will share their experiences when the highly-acclaimed Safe Drive Stay Alive event returns for its 15th year in November.

Would-be teenage drivers and passengers will see graphic scenes of car accidents and their aftermath, following the story as it moves from rescue to emergency hospital treatment and police investigations.

Safe Drive Stay Alive is a long-running partnership approach to road safety involving the emergency services, local authorities, agencies and business supporters. The specially-commissioned film features actors alongside live presentations from fire and paramedic crews, traffic police officers and health professionals.

Relatives and victims of road accidents that have occurred in the area will also give presentations on how their lives have been affected.

Back in 2012, Chris Tucker and five team-mates were returning from an U21 match in Dingwall in two separate vehicles when the car he was a passenger in crashed on the A96.

Chris sustained horrific injuries including broken legs, hips and pelvis, together with collapsed lungs and diaphragm. He had to have his spleen removed and, seven years on from the severe head injuries he suffered, Chris continues to experience difficulties with his speech and memory.

Sadly, the crash ended his career as a footballer and, as a result of his injuries, he faced the painful and difficult tasks of learning how to walk and talk again.

The 28-year-old said: “It was tough learning to deal with the fact that I would never play football again, but that was only one small part of the far wider picture.

“I saw how much my family suffered watching me make such a slow and painful recovery. I can’t stress enough how tortuous and upsetting it is for those who love you coming to terms with the outcome of a car accident.”

Held at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom and attended by thousands of young people from across Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray, the first showing is on Monday, November 4.

The event is designed to bring home to young adults some of the physical and emotional scars which can result from a road traffic collision. Many road accidents involving young drivers and passengers are a result of high spirits and a moment’s inattention.

Although aimed primarily at school pupils around driving age, a free showing is open to the public at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, November 6. Doors open at 7pm.  Due to the graphic content, the minimum age for viewing is 14, with parent or guardian present.

Attendees will again get the chance to experience a virtual reality crash simulation being provided by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and speak to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and Aberdeenshire’s Transport Safety Education Officer. Those wishing to attend the public event should visit http://bit.ly/SDSA19event for more information.

As well as the efforts of the project partners, this year’s event has been made possible through generous sponsorship by Schlumberger and CNOOC International.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, Cllr Anne Stirling, said: “The importance of the Safe Drive Stay Alive roadshow in our community cannot be underestimated. Its hard-hitting message highlights the often horrific outcomes as a result of poor driving such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or being distracted.

“In addition to the important message which goes out to those in the audience, I would remind parents, guardians and carers that they too have a massive role to play in ensuring our young motorists are continually reminded to drive safely.”