Crash car hits the road to make help make Herts safer and steer young drivers in right direction
- Credit: Archant
A hot hatch sports saloon which would draw the eye of every boy racer is one of two new vehicles that have hit the road in a bid to make the streets of Herts safer.
The modified Ford Focus ST is the new Herts Road Safety Partnership crash car – a modified motor that acts as a simulator, using hydraulics, smoke and light systems to powerfully bring home the causes and effects of collisions on the roads.
The crash car will be used in school Learn 2 Live sessions and other road safety events to educate young drivers, who are at particular risk of being involved in a crash, about the dangers of speeding, drink driving, not wearing a seatbelt and driving while using a mobile phone.
One sixth-form student who was on hand to try out the new vehicle at Hertford’s County Hall said: “The simulated crash was scary, but more than that it was eye-opening.
“It’s a realistic scenario and it really does show how you one minute you can be in a car listening to music and the next you can have crashed. It’s important to make sure we know what we’re doing when we’re driving. It’s not about scaring us, it’s about teaching us.”
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Hertfordshire’s fire and rescue service launched a new rescue support unit at the same event. This specialised fire engine carries the latest equipment to help firefighters free drivers and passengers from crashed vehicles and provide trauma care at the scene.
Councillor Ralph Sangster, the deputy cabinet member for road safety at Herts County Council, said: “Young drivers remain one of the most vulnerable groups of road users, with dozens aged 17 to 24 being seriously injured on our roads every year. That’s why we’re investing in these new vehicles - to help us respond to collisions and, more importantly, to help us engage with young drivers and prevent them in the first place.”
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Hertfordshire’s police and crime commissioner David Lloyd said: “At best, road traffic collisions can be costly and inconvenient to deal with, while at worst can result in life-changing injuries or death for the victims and even time in prison for a person found to have caused it.
“Both of these vehicles will contribute to keeping our roads as safe as possible. Finding innovative ways to reduce the number of collisions on our roads is a key pledge in my police and crime plan for Hertfordshire and I believe the crash car will do just that.”
Insp Phil Bloor from the Beds, Cambs and Herts road policing unit, said: “The crash car simulator is highly effective at engaging young people with the subject of road safety and can convey – often better than words alone will – the very real dangers involved in driving on the road.
“It is a very effective vehicle for our road safety message and will be appearing at events around the county helping to encourage young motorists to drive safely and responsibly.”
Last year, 49 drivers aged 17 to 24, were seriously injured in road collisions in Hertfordshire and four were killed.