Road Safety GB has launched a new initiative designed to help reduce the high casualty rates among young drivers and their passengers.
‘Get Clued Up’ tackles the problem of drug driving – it is estimated that around one in five drivers killed on the road may have an impairing drug in their system – following pilot campaign tests in local authority areas across the UK.
The programme will run in schools and colleges across the UK, and will help raise awareness of the dangers of drug driving among pre and novice drivers and enable them to make more informed choices.
Comprehensive lesson plans, which have been developed in consultation with head teachers, sixth form heads, students and experts on drug impairment, are now available to ensure the main issues are understood and positively influence future attitudes and behaviour.
Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, says: “Road Safety GB fully endorses the Get Clued Up Initiative as a major step forward in educating young people about the dangers of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
“This initiative is unique and addresses the problem at its roots by taking the message into schools and colleges and directly engaging with 15-18 year olds in an informative, interesting and interactive way. There has long been a need for this kind of learning and, from my own experience with the pilot in Durham, I believe that Get Clued Up sets the standard for effective and successful engagement with this notoriously difficult age group.”
Dr Rob Tunbridge, an impairment expert and adviser in the development of the award winning materials, added: “If we are going to tackle the problem of drug driving, it is particularly important to get the message across at an early age.
“Official figures show that more than 11,000 under 16s – legally too young to drink – received help with their addiction to cannabis, heroin, alcohol and other drugs in 2007.
“We know from extensive research on drink drive offenders that early intervention to educate these drivers reduces their chance of re-offending by a factor of three. That is why ‘Get Clued Up’, which targets young people before they embark on their driving career, is so important and one that I wholeheartedly support and delighted to be involved in.”
The programme was piloted in several regions and Anne Connor, head of sixth year at Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, said: “We have run the ‘Get Clued Up’ modules as a piece of work with our senior pupils several times now and it is an excellent programme.
“I admit to being skeptical when I ran the programme for the first time; I wasn’t sure that the evaluation survey would show a change in pupil attitudes or knowledge. The level of change, both in terms of their knowledge base and in relation to their attitudes however, was really significant. Not only was that very satisfying for me as a teacher to see that I had made a difference; it was also great for my pupils to see how their own peer group’s attitudes had positively changed too.”
The new Get Clued Up resource will be presented to road safety and drug action teams around the country over the next few weeks.
Liz Brooker, road safety manager for the London Borough of Lewisham, said: “London Borough of Lewisham is involved in this project and we have a record number of our secondary schools engaged in it. It has been a fantastic way of engaging with young and vulnerable drivers and offers us an opportunity to work even more closely with our secondary schools for mutual benefit.”
The project was commissioned by GEM, the Guild of Experienced Motorists, and David Williams, chief executive, commented: “This programme offers an outstanding teacher resource pack and website and is one of the best road safety tools I have seen in my 40 years in this profession.
“The dangers of drug driving are very real and could eclipse the drink drive problems we have all worked so hard to reduce. I believe it is vital to tackle this issue now and the new Get Clued Up resource allows hard pressed councils access to award winning anti-drug drive materials for a fraction of their true value.
“The initiative also provides full project management and evaluation. For those road safety teams who are sadly losing staff and working with minimal budgets, it offers a cost effective solution to casualty reduction which I highly recommend.”
For more information contact Jan Deans on 07980 851 360.