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Crash Victims' Families to Take Part in Young Drivers' Scheme


Image of car crash


The mother of a County Durham car crash victim is to speak to young drivers at a police-led scheme in a bid to prevent further needless deaths on the roads.

Nick Davidson, 27 from Middleton-in-Teesdale died after the Audi A4 he was in crashed into a tree in the early hours of Saturday, 16th August last year on the outskirts of Whorlton. The driver, a friend of Nick’s, was subsequently found to be over the drink-drive limit.

Now Nick’s mother, Anita Thompson will be seeing for herself the efforts being made to educate the drivers of tomorrow about the dangers not only of drinking and driving, but the other main causes of serious road collisions.

Anita will be speaking to young people taking part in ‘WiseDrive – Drive for Life’ which, since it began in 2001 has seen more than 13,000 students from across County Durham and Darlington learn about a range of road safety issues.  

Delivered by County Durham and Darlington Road Safety Partnership with support from Durham Agency Against Crime, the award winning initiative will see almost 1,300 students pass through its doors over the next three weeks.

WiseDrive is based at The Workplace, a specialist conference and events venue in Heighington Lane, Aycliffe Business Park.

Aimed at year 11 students the day-long multi-agency event aims to positively influence attitudes and behaviour among young road users with particular emphasis on the ‘Fatal Four’ most common causes of death and serious injuries  - drink and drug driving, failing to wear seatbelts, excess speed and distractions such as the use of mobile phones

Throughout the day students will attend interactive workshops focusing on these issues, all of which will have the theme of ‘peer pressure’ running through them.

The organisers have also been assisted by Jackie Robinson and Stacey Robinson, mother and sister of 19-year-old Megan Robinson who died in a crash in  June 2013.

Megan, 19 was one of three people who died following a collision between a Fiat 500 and a Citroen Xsara in Shotton Colliery. The driver of a third car involved, which had been racing the Fiat  was later jailed for several years after pleading guilty to three counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The Fiat driver Rebecca Learoyd and front seat passenger Megan Robinson were killed, along with the Citroen driver, 60-year-old Anne Peachey.

Jackie and Stacey agreed to take part in a film to be shown at WiseDrive, talking about the devastating effects Megan’s death had on her family and friends.

It’s a sad fact that one in every five newly qualified drivers will crash within a year of passing their test, but we know that most collisions are avoidable,” said Insp Wendy Tinkler, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU).

We are very appreciative of Anita for agreeing to take part in WiseDrive. She is very keen to see what is being done to educate the next generation of motorists and to help in any way she can.”   

Between 2012-2014 a total of 143 young road-users aged 16-24 were killed or seriously injured on the roads in the Durham Constabulary area.

Road collisions are officially the biggest single cause of death for those aged 16-24 in the UK and the crash risk for young drivers is much higher when carrying passengers, due to peer pressure and the chance of the driver being distracted.

The WiseDrive initiative is supported by Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who is working with partners to improve road safety and tackle careless driving.

“It is vitally important to raise young people’s awareness of road safety in our communities, so they can understand the rules of the road and appreciate the devastation that can be caused by dangerous or careless driving,” he said.

Paul Watson, Durham County Council’s road safety manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver this year’s Wise Drive campaign, which is an extremely effective way to raise awareness among our young people of how vital it is to stay safe on the roads.”

PHOTO/ FILMING / INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY – Members of the media are invited to attend Wise Drive next Tuesday 6th October, at the Workplace in Newton Aycliffe (DL5 6AH).

Anita Thompson is available for interview and various photo and filming opportunities will be available during the practical workshops.

Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg will also be present and available to talk from 1pm onwards.

Please report to the venue for 11.30am, media contact on the day will be Martin Wallwork.


Posted on Friday 2nd October 2015
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