95 Alive, the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, has joined the long list of road safety partnerships participating in the The Honest Truth campaign.
Road safety officers will train approved driving instructors (ADIs) to deliver the Honest Truth programme, in a bid to “tackle anti-social driving habits before they develop”.
95 Alive says that in North Yorkshire an average of 80 young people are killed or seriously injured each year and figures for the period 2009-2013 show that 21% of the county’s KSIs were aged 16-24 years.
The Honest Truth was set up in 2009 in South Devon to deliver key messages about drink, drugs, speed, mobile phones, seatbelts, distractions, showing off and tiredness.
The campaign is now running in Cornwall, Wiltshire and Swindon, Dorset, Essex, Somerset, Staffordshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, Kent and in the past few weeks has launched in Hertfordshire, Shropshire and Norfolk.
The campaign uses animal/human hybrid characters to represent “negative behaviour” by drivers or passengers. For example, drivers are described as cheetahs if they drive too fast and parrots if they use their mobile phone. Instructors use the animal comparisons to make learner drivers aware of these negative driving traits and provide encouragement to avoid them.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s executive member for road safety, said: “The rural nature of North Yorkshire means there is a greater need for young people to drive and they tend to drive longer distances on rural roads than young drivers in other parts of the country.
“Regardless of what stage a learner driver is at, the Honest Truth will be a useful tool for instructors to help young drivers identify and avoid negative driving traits. We know that young people want to become good drivers and travel and get home safely. We are working with their instructors to help them to do so from their very first driving lesson.”
Tim Madgwick, deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire Police and chair of 95 Alive, said: “The Honest Truth sees the fire and rescue service, the police, local authorities and approved driving instructors working together to help reduce these shocking (young driver casualty) numbers.
“Because of the time instructors spend with young people in tuition and the relationships they build, we are helping them make a real difference by providing teaching resources and key messages.”