Young driver who suffered serious injuries in crash raises awareness of road safety

The launch of the Police and Crime Commissioner's road safety scheme Impact at Norwich City College.

The launch of the Police and Crime Commissioner's road safety scheme Impact at Norwich City College. The fire fighters remove the roof of a car to get the driver out during a demonstration of a crash. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A young driver who was involved in a serious crash is taking his damaged car to schools and colleges as part of a new road safety awareness campaign.

The launch of the Police and Crime Commissioner's road safety scheme Impact at Norwich City College.

The launch of the Police and Crime Commissioner's road safety scheme Impact at Norwich City College. Young driver, Thomas Semmons, 18, with his car he had a crash in this year, and his dad, Ian, left, and Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, right. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Thomas Semmons, 18, from Scarning near Dereham, told students about his crash on the B1145 between Aylsham and Cawston this summer, to show young drivers the importance of road safety, as he launched the Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner's #Impact campaign at Norwich City College today.

Mr Semmons was seriously injured when he lost control of his car in bad weather on July 16.

The campaign was launched by Lorne Green Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner this week as part of his election pledge to improve safety on Norfolk's roads.

In the past year there have been 299 road accidents in which someone was killed or seriously injured, with almost a third of those involving young drivers.

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Mr Semmons said: 'Today is important for me because I saw the pain my family and friends had to go through and I don't want any other young drivers to go through that.

'I'm grateful I'm still here. I don't want anyone to think I'll drive fast because it's not worth the risk.'

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Mr Semmons, who works at Waitrose in Swaffham, said the crash left him with three broken ribs, one of which missed his artery by two millimetres , which could have been fatal.

Speaking to a crowd of 80 students who had gathered for the event Mr Semmons said: 'I missed my artery by two millimetres, basically that night I was two millimetres from death.

'Being cut out of a car is terrifying, seeing my first car like that is not something I wanted to happen.'

'My message to young drivers is you're not as good as you think you are, you're still inexperienced.'

Three fire-engines, one ambulance and two police cars were sent out to the crash which left Mr Semmons in hospital for nine days.

Mr Green said: 'I promised to do all I can to prevent young people from being seriously injured or killed on our roads. Young people don't want to listen to an old man in a suit, so I have asked Thomas Semmons, who was involved in an accident himself, to talk to young people about the dangers, whether it be drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone or speeding.

'Thomas is a perfect ambassador for the #Impact campaign and I am very happy that he has agreed to share his experience with the young people of Norfolk.

'I want this to be a sustainable effort to display the consequences of not taking road safety seriously.'

Steve Thorpe, Assistant Principle of Norwich City College, said the day was also about giving students insight into the work done by the emergency services.

He said: 'It's a real learning opportunity we're getting rescue services to teach young people about living in our society and what that means.'

Mr Semmons' father, Ian Semmons said: 'The emergency services, particularly the fire and ambulance crews who arrived first on the scene were brilliant. That was very reassuring.'

The awareness day also involved a demonstration of cutting a victim from a wrecked vehicle and a presentation from Norfolk's Roads Policing Team on the Fatal 4 things that you should never do behind a wheel which includes using a mobile phone, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.

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