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Emergency services deliver an unforgettable lesson in road safety

Group image of officers with Avon Fire and Rescue Service and Great Western Air Ambulance workers

This week sixth formers from Clevedon School in North Somerset witnessed at first hand some of the severe consequences resulting from drink driving, when our officers joined Avon Fire and Rescue Service and Great Western Air Ambulance to demonstrate some of the fallout from a bad decision.

The Drink and Drug Drive Awareness Day saw students listen to an impactful presentation around the consequences of drink or drug driving.  They then watched an acted scenario of friends who have been out, had drinks and must decide whether to get a taxi home or risk driving.

With their judgement impaired by alcohol, the friends ultimately make the wrong choice.

Students then headed to the school field to see the aftermath of that decision as the enactment continued with emergency services called to attend the (staged) resulting road traffic collision where a car has crashed and the passenger is trapped

Afterwards, students saw what wise decision-making would have looked like, before taking part in activities and a question-and-answer session with emergency services teams.

Head of Sixth Form, Katie Whiting said: “This was one of the most powerful re-enactments that any student could witness. It sends an extremely powerful message to our students and forms part of the wider, holistic goals of equipping our students for the next phase of their life”.

The awareness day was organised by PC Ross Windsor, a former pupil of Clevedon school, who hopes it may be rolled out to other schools in the future.

“We are extremely proud that our former student Ross is now a police officer delivering valuable lessons to pupils in schools, including here at Clevedon School where he spent many happy years.” Katie added.

 Andy Roebuck, Forensic Collision Investigation Lead for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Few people estimate the physical and mental trauma a collision involving a drink or drugged driver can cause.

 “From driver or passenger injuries to the stress of an ongoing police investigation, to the reduction in job prospects and guilt of potentially causing a person to live with lifelong injuries or worse, there are so many horrendous consequences that can result from a bad decision.

 “We hope that what they have sees and learnt from the awareness day will stay with these young people for life, positively shaping their own decisions around drink and drug driving. 

“There is absolutely no excuse for getting behind the while whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.  We, as emergency services, see far too many lives ruined this way.”

 Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s Temporary Area Manager for Risk Reduction, Steve Quinton, echoed the sentiment, saying: “It’s vitally important that everybody understands that alcohol and drugs, even in small amounts, can affect your reaction times, judgement and co-ordination. The demonstration is another reminder to take heed of our safety advice and remember that it’s just not worth the risk.”

In 2021, drink/drug driving contributed to a third of fatal collisions in Avon and Somerset.

 Avon and Somerset Police’s tips to keep drivers safe:

  • Don’t drink or drug drive – and don’t let anyone you know do so either. Your reaction time will be slower and you are more of a risk to yourself and others.
  • Plan travel arrangements in advance and arrange a designated driver who won’t drink or take any drugs and will take responsibility for getting everyone home safely.
  • Be aware of the risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on the evening of drinking, but also the morning after.
  • Having a large cup of coffee won’t clear the body of alcohol or dull its effects. The only thing that can sober you up is time.
  • It’s safest not to drink at all if you are driving early the next day.
  • When drinking at home it can more difficult to judge measures, so don’t drive.