Edinburgh Young Drivers event strengthens safety message

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A written-off car at the Young Drivers Event

A crash survivor, who sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident 17 years ago, will share her experience with local young motorists at a road safety education event this week.

The Streets Ahead Edinburgh Young Drivers event is back at the Corn Exchange for its sixth year running and will be hosted by Forth 1 DJ Grant Thomson, teaching sixth year students from various schools how to drive safer on the roads.

The popular event, which is sponsored by Digby Brown Solicitors, is jointly run by all partners in the Streets Ahead Edinburgh, including City of Edinburgh Council, Police Scotland, NHS Lothian, among other major local services.

Guest speaker Laura Torrence has been in a wheelchair since 1999 when she was in a serious car crash at the age of 16, who now works as a peer support advisor with charity Spinal Injuries Scotland.

As well as talks from experts, students attending the four-day event will have an opportunity to try out a selection of fun, interactive activities that stress the importance of cautious driving, including drunk goggles and a breathalyser.

The wreckage of a crashed car and a hard-hitting play called Friends Disunited performed by Baldy Bane Theatre Company will also help drive home safety messages.

Councillor Adam McVey, Transport Vice Convener, said: “There’s no doubt it’s an exciting time in a young person’s life when they first get behind the wheel as a newly qualified driver. However the statistics on road casualties and deaths among young people make for very sobering reading.

“Our Young Drivers events drive home some very hard-hitting messages in a fun and engaging way. Pupils and teachers who have attended in previous years have found the sessions extremely helpful and thought-provoking and I’m sure those coming along this year will get a lot out of it too.”

Facts from Road Safety Scotland state that road traffic is the biggest killer of young people in Scotland, and that an average of 54 accidents a week in the country involve a young driver between 17 and 25.

Laura Torrance said: “This is the prime age to target, especially as I was their age when I had my accident. We want to get it through to them that this is not a joke – this is serious stuff, this is your life we’re talking about. Driving can be really fun – I still enjoy driving myself – but it’s really important to make sure you drive safely and wear your seatbelt.”

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