Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is the latest organisation to pilot virtual reality (VR) technology, using a video developed by the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.
In a press release issued on Friday (24 March), Devon and Somerset FRS says its hopes the technology will connect with, and educate, potential young drivers before they even get behind the wheel of a car.
The technology, which will be evaluated by local university students, has already been used at a Learn2Live event in the region.
The VR headsets involve a 360° road safety film showing the dangers of being distracted at the wheel while using a mobile phone. Users wearing the headset experience a full crash scene extrication from the arrival of the emergency services, while being talked through the process by a paramedic.
Watch manager Dan Searle, community road safety, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service: “We want to reach as many young drivers as possible and coming up with innovative ideas to effectively engage with local communities is always a challenge for fire and rescue services.
“The VR headsets encourage dynamic conversations with both new and young drivers with the intention of them being forewarned and resulting in safer young drivers on our roads. The early valuation of these headsets shows that it does change behaviours.
“We are currently working with students in North Devon who are helping us to deliver a package on a peer to peer basis and then university students are going to evaluate this for us.”