New videos launched to enhance Central Bedfordshire’s crash car

12.00 | 3 November 2015 | | 6 comments

The Central Bedfordshire crash car, OSCAR, has been enhanced with the addition of two new films to depict the dangers of drink driving, and the vulnerability of other road users.

Launched earlier this year, OSCAR is used to promote road safety to young drivers throughout Central Bedfordshire and is kitted out with technology to simulate the experience of being in a car crash.

To make the experience “as realistic as possible”, the road safety team originally created two short films; the first focusing on in-car distractions and the second, looking at tyre safety.

The films are displayed on the front windscreen of the car, with the sound system, hydraulic suspension, smoke machine and light show all adding to the crash-car experience.

The two new videos, produced by FirstCar on behalf of Central Bedfordshire’s road safety team, feature live rear view mirror footage and were filmed using a rear-mounted camera capturing hazards such as filtering bikes.

For the drink driving scenario, ‘vision blur’ has been superimposed to mimic the effects of double vision caused by drinking alcohol.

James Evans from FirstCar said: “Crash cars are a great engagement tool at outside events as occupants get to experience the knocks and bumps caused by poor driving first hand.

“However, feedback often shows that participants can feel powerless to the scenario evolving in front of them, when in fact, they should be empowered to make better decisions.

“We began by breaking down the two minute scenario into smaller mini-scenarios that would play-out in sequence. Hazards evolve and risks are introduced as the scenes progress, with the option for vehicle’s operator to interact very briefly between clips. The rear view mirror adds a more realistic dimension in relation to eye scanning and hazard perception.”

Cllr Brian Spurr, Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “OSCAR is really good way to promote safer driving to our residents and we’re glad to be able to add the new films to the collection.

“Both the new films are relevant to all road users and we hope people who see the films take what they have learnt onto the roads to make them a safe place for all.”


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    Derek – as you rightly say, the clips are very much about prompting a discussion. The risk factors are more covered in the audio, whereas the hazards are very much split between the front and rear facing visuals. There is even the potential to film a series of clips that evolve depending on decisions made by the car occupants, although this would be very expensive to film because of all the potential ‘branches’. It was a really interesting project to work on and I do hope we’ll be able to do more in the future.

    James Evans, FirstCar
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    Nothing sinister in this! The comments were removed because they related to a previous version of the video which was mistakenly supplied to us by FirstCar who made the film. When the correct version was supplied we uploaded it to the news story. I decided to remove the original comments as were no longer relevant, and were confusing to readers coming new to the story. I hope that allays your concerns!

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
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    Has anyone else noticed that some comments have been retrospectively removed? Is this a new policy and what implications does it hold for those participating in discussion/comment on this website?

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    Brilliant idea. I am guessing that because the films are shown in-car, there is the opportunity for a one to one discussion on the screened events. Is there any possibility that they could be shown to a wider audience? Though too wide an audience of the younger persuasion might see the whole thing as a set up with some resultant derisory comments. Depends on the situation.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    Hugh, yes that’s absolutely right. This clip is one in a series of eight that would be played during a normal crash car ‘sitting’. Each clip empowers the driver/passengers to observe something (maybe a hazard like the bike – maybe a risk such as distractions, fatigue or drink/drugs) that could alter the course of events.

    Some of the videos I’ve seen in other cars put the participants in a somewhat ‘inevitable’ situation; even the best hydraulic systems can come nowhere near to replicating the feeling of a crash. Therefore our films major on the hydraulics to mimic poor driving (late braking, swerving, hitting speed bumps too hard etc) – thereby providing triggers that participants may remember when in a similar real-life situation.

    As you rightly say, no immediate blame is attributed. This leaves the debate very much open and provides a starting point for the operator or another RSO to engage on their exit from the car.

    James Evans, FirstCar
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    James: Out of interest, was the incident shown in the video ‘set up’, or was it a random real incident which happened to be filmed? Either way, it’s very good and shows a typical everyday collision scenario. As far as I can tell, there’s no implied criticism of either the driver or the rider accompanying the video – is the idea that the observer should draw their own conclusion and hopfully learn from it?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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