By Joshua Robinson –
Firefighters at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) are hoping to educate over one thousand young people through a series of events to teach important information as part of Road Safety Week 2023 (19th – 25th November).
The seven days started on 19th November with this year’s theme ‘Let’s Talk About Speed’. WYFRS is partnering with several other services including road safety charity Brake, West Yorkshire Police, and local authorities to try and reduce death, injury, and accidents on the road.
As part of the week, WYFRS is hosting the Calderdale Road Safety Roadshow where hundreds of teenagers from schools across the borough are educated about the consequences of driving without care and attention. The roadshow at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax on Tuesday 21st November will feature talks from a range of emergency service workers and people whose lives have been damaged by dangerous driving.
Recent figures show that in the last twelve months, WYFRS has attended 607 road traffic collisions, in which sadly 18 people died. This is a similar number from the same period of 2021-22 which saw WYFRS attend 597 RTCs where 23 people lost their lives.
WYFRS staff will also deliver education demonstrations at Huddersfield and Dewsbury Colleges as part of the week of action. There will be an opportunity for young people to use the community devices that support safer roads, a drugs and alcohol awareness talk from West Yorkshire Police, and a RTC Demonstration by WYFRS crews for the students with a discussion afterwards.
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Assistant District Commander for Calderdale Dan Butterfield has been organising the roadshow. He said: “Young people can be some of our most vulnerable road users. It is important we share information and educate young people about the risk on our roads. Especially as we go into winter, the mornings and evenings are getting darker, and road conditions can be changeable.”
“There’s some simple advice all road users can follow that cut the risk to themselves and others: don’t speed, use caution, don’t be careless, never drink or take drugs and drive, don’t use your phone, or other distractions while driving, always wear a seatbelt and in winter always be aware of weather conditions that could affect your stopping distance.”
Chief Inspector James Farrar, Head of West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit said: “Speed kills, it causes serious life changing injuries and can devastate families. While we remain committed and determined to take action against speeding drivers in order to help keep communities safe we would much prefer it if drivers took responsibility for their own actions by driving safely and within the speed limit. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate the consequences of not driving responsibly – we want to help educate and inform prospective young drivers.”
“Abiding by the laws of the road reduces the chances of being killed or seriously injured. It also reduces the chances of causing a fatal or serious collision. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and one life lost on our roads is one too many.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said: “As part of the Calderdale Road Safety Partnership, the Council is pleased to support the West Yorkshire Fire Service’s days of action, including the information and education event for young people at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax.”
“We do all we can to ensure our roads are as safe as possible, but it’s so important that people understand the risks and the serious consequences of driving recklessly, when under the influence, or without due care and attention.”