TER CS Mark Williams

Sixth-year school pupils across Edinburgh are to be reminded of the dangers of driving during a four-day event at the Corn Exchange next week.
The Streets Ahead Edinburgh Young Drivers sessions are returning for a fourth year from Monday 22nd through to Thursday 25th September.
Aimed at reducing the number of young people killed or injured on the city’s roads, the event will specifically target new drivers.
It will cover the key issues of drink driving, speeding and wearing seatbelts, with S6 pupils taking part in various activities designed to reduce their chances of being involved in road collisions.
Between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014, there were a total of 1,250 drivers aged between 17 and 25 involved in collisions in Edinburgh.
Laura Torrance sustained life-changing injuries as a direct result of a road accident in 1999 and is one of the guest speakers at the seminar.
Laura was just 16-years-old when she was involved in a collision that left her confined to a wheelchair. She was a back-seat passenger at the time and was not wearing a seatbelt.
“I feel young drivers these days are more interested in showing off to their friends or too busy on social media on their smart phones,” said Laura ahead of the Edinburgh Young Drivers event, “and this is all it can take for something bad to happen.
“In my road accident we were not going particularly fast – there was just too much carry on, and the driver had only passed his test four days previously so was very inexperienced.
“It doesn’t need to be something major like driving too fast. It can all happen in a split second if you are messing about with friends, trying to put on some music or even just chatting too much and not paying attention to the road.
“It’s not worth it. I never thought this would happen to me. Fifteen years on and I’ve had to change my whole life and live it in a wheelchair. I am alive and I’m thankful for that. But what if I had put my seatbelt on that night – would it be different today?
“I’ll never know the answer to that question but if I could go back and do it all again I certainly wouldn’t take the chance. It takes you seconds to put it on and it might save your life.”
Hosted by Radio Forth DJ Grant Thomson, the multi-agency driving event is being run by Streets Ahead – the partnership between Police Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – and many schools have now made this event part of their Personal and Social Education curriculum for senior pupils.
Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, who is the Divisional Commander for the City of Edinburgh and is based at St Leonards Police Station in Edinburgh, said: “Keeping people safe on our roads is a top priority for Police Scotland and the Edinburgh Young Drivers event has been a huge success over the past three years. It brings together lots of agencies that are working together to keep young people safe and once again I am delighted my officers and staff are co-organising the event.
“The sessions will aim to give teenagers a comprehensive insight into the risks associated with irresponsible driving and the very serious consequences of being involved in road collisions.
“Initiatives like this one are so important in educating young motorists, and hopefully it goes a long way to keeping new drivers safe and deterring them from behaving in a reckless manner when taking to the roads.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “It’s disturbing to hear that young drivers were involved in so many collisions this past year. Through the Streets Ahead partnership, the Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are determined to bring this number down.
“Initiatives like this Young Drivers’ Event are a vital tool in educating young motorists in how to keep themselves and their passengers safe.”
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