Young drivers given virtual reality check

12.00 | 3 March 2017 |

West Midlands Fire Service has launched a ‘pioneering’ road safety education package, built around a specially-commissioned 360° virtual reality video.

‘Every Choice Counts’ is described as the first of its kind in the UK, featuring ‘branching’ technology which allows participants to make decisions with different consequences and outcomes at various points in a car journey with friends.

Speaking at the initiative’s launch on 27 February, West Midlands Fire Service assistant chief fire officer Gary Taylor said the package combines behavioural change techniques with experiential learning.

The video, filmed in the West Midlands, was produced in conjunction with First Car publishing. The main characters were played by performing arts students from Birmingham School of Acting and Walsall College.

Gary Taylor said: “Our most vulnerable road users are young drivers aged 16 to 24 years and the biggest killers on our roads are ‘The Fatal Four’ of speeding, distractions like texting, drink and drug-driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

“The video will be used in colleges and sixth forms, and is complemented by a comprehensive lesson plan to encourage peer-to-peer learning.

“We hope that everyone who sees it will also benefit from the learning coping strategies to help them deal with pressure from friends, and get a much clearer understanding and appreciation of safer driving choices.”

Watch commander Andy Gillespie, from the West Midlands Fire Service Road Casualty Reduction Team, said: “The students gave fantastic performances and were true professionals throughout. They were very believable, even though they had to film some difficult scenes.

“We hope that many other students and young people will be able to relate to the film, and become a safer generation of drivers.”

Want to know more about young drivers and road safety? 
Key facts and summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre


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