Norfolk chief constable urges City College Norwich students to drive safely

Norfolk's top police officer yesterday urged youngsters to think about their friends and families whenever they get behind the wheel of a car – as he revealed he was a worried parent of a young driver himself.

Chief constable Phil Gormley's comments came after students at City College Norwich were shown a hard-hitting video which aimed to make them safer drivers.

The presentation, part of the Road Safety Week campaign, included graphic scenes of crashes and a heart-rending interview with parents whose 18-year-old daughter had died.

The college students were told that last year 61, or 17pc, of the 353 people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads were aged between 17 and 25 – despite only making up 12pc of the country's road users.

Norfolk's chief constable said he hoped the presentation would make students more aware of the consequences of their actions when they got behind the wheel.

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And he revealed he had his own personal reasons to feel strongly about the campaign.

'My daughter takes her driving test on December 20,' Mr Gormley said. 'So I'm a worried parent. We've all been there.

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'We take decisions about ourselves and our own safety all the time – and when we're young we all think we're immortal – but it's those other people they also need to think about. Think about your passengers, your friends, your family.'

Following the screening of the video, that message seemed to have got through.

Maddison Bee, a 17-year-old public services student at the college, said: 'It was the images of what you can do to other people that struck me – not necessarily what will happen to you but the injuries they can get. It's a reality check.'

Student Jack Davidge said hearing from parents talking about the moment police had knocked on the door to tell them their daughter had been killed would stick with him.

He said: 'I can't think of anything worse. You always think about the accident and the people involved, but you don't think about the parents.'

Yesterday's presentation – which has been shown to thousands of Norfolk youngsters since 2005 – was put together by the county council working closely with county's police, fire and ambulance services, and the primary care trust.

Organisers said it aimed to show the shocking reality of a crash while also equipping young people with the tools to make sure they did not end up in that situation.

It included footage from real-life and re-enacted crashes along with a series of hard-hitting facts and figures.

Mr Gormley said students were much more likely to wear their seat belts next time they got into a car. He said: 'At 30mph, if you're in a collision, your body weight is 30 times what it would normally be.'

Norfolk mother Liz Voysey, whose daughter was killed by a speeding van driver, was representing campaign group Brake, which co-ordinates Road Safety Week. She said: 'It's hard hitting, which is essential. It's about real life. It's not an X-Box game where you can press a button and have another go.'

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