Pupils are driving force in Lochaber road safety campaign

  Publish Date:

Road safety initiative launched to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities in Lochaber

Pupils from local high schools will have the chance to get behind the steering wheel to gain first-hand experience of driving as part of a new road safety initiative to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities in the Lochaber region.

Lochaber Road Users Awareness Week, which runs from August 29 to September 3, aims to raise community awareness about road safety with a particular focus on young people.

The Young Car Driver Experience for 14-17 year olds is an opportunity for them to get involved with the project by letting them drive under the supervision of a fully qualified driving instructor in a dual-controlled vehicle in a safe zone.

The week’s events begin with Fire Station Road Safety Open Evenings at seven community fire stations across the region.

It will culminate with the action-packed Lochaber 999 Road Show in the grounds of Lochaber High School on Saturday September 3.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), a member of the Lochaber District Partnership which has responsibility for community planning on all matters relating to health, social care and community safety, is leading the campaign.

This is in association with Highland Council, Police Scotland, Highlife Highland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Marine Coast Guard, British Red Cross, Breedon Aggregates Scotland, Fort William Rotary Club, NHS Highland and two local driving schools.

There has been a significant reduction in the number of fatalities and serious injuries over the past three years but SFRS Group Manager Pat McElhinney, who chairs the Partnership’s Road Safety Group, said reducing this even further remains a priority for the group.

He said: “This is a unique partnership of public, private and voluntary sector organisations coming together for one important purpose, to help prevent road deaths by educating young people on the risks and hazards on our roads.

“A lot of time and effort has gone into planning this and we would hope that it not only becomes an annual event here but can be rolled out across the rest of Scotland.”

Dr Michael Foxley, joint chair of the Lochaber District Partnership and a member of the Fire Board said: “We are all saddened by the tragedy of young lives lost, with families and friendships destroyed by accidents on the road in our region. If this initiative saves the life of one young son, daughter or friend it will have been a massive success. I strongly support the SFRS for leading this important partnership work.”

In addition to the Young Driver Experience, activities during the Lochaber 999 Road Show which takes place from 11am – 1pm will include high speed impact demonstrations by Police Scotland, road traffic collision demonstrations by local fire crews, casualty care demonstrations and simulations by local ambulance crews, cycle safety awareness and a showcase of emergency services’ equipment and vehicles.

“There will be many more activities during the day and we invite all members of the community to pop along at any point during the two-hour period to see what we do and why road safety is so important for us all,” said Pat.

“There is also the chance to speak to the emergency services about career opportunities and to pick up useful information on wider safety issues such as child safety. The event is suitable for people of all ages and there will be something for everyone.”

During fire station open evenings visitors will have the chance to see how firefighters cut open a car, take part in CPR training in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation’s Restart a Heart campaign and will meet local firefighters and learn more about career opportunities in the service.

Open evenings will be held at the following community fire stations from 7-9p.m.: Kinlochleven (August 29); Lochaline (August 29); Fort William (August 30); Mallaig (August 30); Strontian (August 30); Acharacle (August 31); Kilchoan (September 1).

Our Latest News