Safe Drive Stay Alive is back for another year as emergency services and families that have lost their loved ones join together to save lives and reduce the number of young people involved in road traffic collisions.
The Safe Drive Stay Alive project is funded by Safer Roads GM Partnership and supported by TFGM. The Safer Roads Partnership and comprises of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (GMFRS), North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The hard-hitting road safety project, which is delivered in the format of a stage performance at Middleton Arena, is in its eighth year and will be attended this year by more than 9,000 sixth form and college students.
Representatives from each of the emergency services, along with family members that have lost their loved ones in a road traffic collision, will take to the stage to talk to young people about the impact of their real-life experience.
The team are welcoming four new speakers this year, including a Watch Manager from GMFRS, two paramedics from NWAS and a new family speaker.
Being involved in a road traffic collision is one of the biggest risks for young people, with 17-25 year-olds continuing to be disproportionately represented in the casualty statistics of those killed or seriously injured on the roads.
Inexperience means that young people are at particular risk and have less ability to spot hazards, as well as being more likely to take risks such as overtaking or speeding.
The 'Fatal 5’, which comprises of speeding, distraction, drink and drug driving, non-seatbelt wearing and peer pressure, is covered within the performances, as well as an appeal to the audience to be good influences as passengers and to speak up if they don’t feel safe.
Safe Drive Stay Alive was delivered last year in September, October and November at Middleton Arena, and was also delivered at The Stockport Plaza in March earlier this year.
PC Nicola Heap from GMP said: “Keeping people safe on our roads is our absolute priority and Safe Drive Stay Alive helps us to deliver an important and potentially life-saving message to our next generation of drivers.
“Far too many people are killed and seriously injured on our roads. Knocking on a door to tell somebody their loved one has been involved in a collision is something that no police officer ever wishes to do, but unfortunately is something that is all too common.
“The people that take to the stage are not actors; they are real people with real stories to tell. Each person on stage is there because they want to prevent anybody else experiencing the same heartbreak that they have endured, and I am incredibly proud and grateful for the courage shown by each of them.”
Watch Manager Simon Dowling from GMFRS said: “Being involved in a serious or fatal road traffic collision, is a real danger for many young people across Greater Manchester. The wider impact to those families left behind can be devastating and can affect the rest of their lives.
“Safe Drive Stay Alive aims to bring the reality of its impacts home to as many young people as possible.
“The team is made up of real people – emergency services, doctors, nurses, and families, all of which have dealt with the consequences of these incidents, and I’m very proud to be part of it. It’s tough to stand up and tell the stories to hundreds of people but we all do it in the hope to reduce the deaths of young people caused by road incidents.
“The stories are real, hard-hitting and sometimes uncomfortable for the audience and the speakers alike, but they must be heard. I am urging young people to attend if they get the chance. It could save your life.”
Ann-Marie Hornsby joins emergency services on stage to talk about the death of her son, Colin, from Droylsden, who tragically lost his life in 2018 when the car he was a passenger in crashed. Ann-Marie said: “When I answered the knock on the door that Friday night to the police, our lives and many of Colin's friends lives changed forever. As a mum all I kept thinking was he needed me, and I wasn't with him. His injuries were such that he would have died instantly. Nothing has or ever will be the same ever again."