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‘Graphic’ virtual reality video aims to make young drivers safer

PUBLISHED: 11:31 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 27 June 2017

A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Picture: Ian Burt

A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Police are trying a new tactic at getting young drivers to be safer on the road with a virtual reality headset that puts them in the middle of a car crash.

A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured are (from left) Garry Collins from the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green and Chief Inspector Kris Barnard. Picture: Ian Burt A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured are (from left) Garry Collins from the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green and Chief Inspector Kris Barnard. Picture: Ian Burt

The virtual reality sets will be piloted at the Royal Norfolk Show as part of the #Impact initiative.

More than a dozen Samsung Gear VR goggles are being introduced in partnership with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services.

The video starts with a group of teenagers in a car driving down a country road. The driver and a rear passenger are messing around with a mobile phone. All the while the user in the headset is able to look around and spot the potential dangers that the driver is not paying attention to.

The driver almost spins but is able to regain control before ploughing into a tractor pulling a trailer.

A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured is Chief Inspector Kris Barnard. Picture: Ian Burt A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured is Chief Inspector Kris Barnard. Picture: Ian Burt

Upon waking up from the accident the user is greeted with a body through the windscreen of the car, while the emergency services provide medical care and cut the teenagers out of the car.

The introduction of this technology is part of police crime commissioner Lorne Green’s pledge to tackle road safety and bring in 21st Century technology.

He said: “I think we need to respond to young people in a way that resonates with them and the way that has the greatest impact with them. We need to reach out to young people. We have to reach people in ways that is most effective and best understood by them.”

The film was shot in Leicestershire where it is already being used by emergency services.

A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured is EDP reporter Marc Betts. Picture: Ian Burt A VR headset is being introduced to show users what it would be like to be involved in a car crash. Pictured is EDP reporter Marc Betts. Picture: Ian Burt

“It’s graphic,” Mr Green added, “when I saw a pilot of it I initially wondered what impact it would have on younger people. We will be limiting the age to the driver’s age and above during the trials to see what the reaction is.”

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of Norfolk Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit said: “It’s a great tool. It will draw drivers in but it’s the conversation after with the police, firefighters and paramedics to really drive home that this could be them.”

The film is part of a range of new technologies brought in by Mr Green including body cameras on officers and the introduction of police drones in the coming months.

The #Impact campaign was launched in November 2016 in a bid to highlight the issues of road safety among young people.

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