You know what life's like when we're in the car; often impatient about needing to get from A to B whilst our minds are focused on a thousand and one other things! Then, on top of that, most of us like to think we're the best drivers around and it's everyone else who can't drive properly. Then what if we could prevent accidents and stop the next generation of drivers from dying on our roads, by reaching out to as many people as possible in the Eastern Region - and highlighting what matters most whilst we're behind the wheel?
An impressive visual vehicle and people power spectacle took place this morning (on the first day of Road Safety Week); as 5x trucks, 3x trailers, 3x buses, 1x fire engines, 3x rapid response vehicles, cars and an air ambulance all converged in the name of one vital cause. Everyone met at the Operations Base for the charity Magpas Air Ambulance (who bring hospital level care to patients in life-threatening emergencies such as road traffic collisions). Thanks to support from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership; the idea was to help raise awareness by encouraging as many fleet vehicles as possible to sport a sticker which highlights the five most common factors in road traffic accidents. These five factors are: speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt, being under the influence whilst behind the wheel and driving too close to the car in front.
Magpas Air Ambulance Dr Nathan Howes said: "At Magpas Air Ambulance, we would never wish for anyone to be involved in a road traffic accident. However, if they are, thanks to public support we can continue to deliver the highest level of pre-hospital emergency medical care (PHEM) to them, in their ultimate time of need. Today is an inspirational and educational example of how we can collectively reach out to members of the community and encourage companies to display these stickers on their vehicles. We want to prevent accidents and stop the next generation of drivers from dying on our roads."
Phil Hayes, a father from Peterborough, knows how serious the impact of a road traffic incident can be. Phil, who travels all over the region with his work, suffered life-threatening injuries when his car flipped and rolled several times - landing on its roof in a ditch, where he was left trapped and hanging upside down. Magpas Air Ambulance flew hospital level care to Phil and as a result, instead of being left paralysed, Phil was able to take his first steps just over 3 weeks later and has since made a great recovery.
Phil talked about why he felt so passionately about being part of this morning's event, "I feel like I'm the luckiest person alive. We all know we've got to get to places and we've all done it when we're rushing, keeping our eyes on the clock - but it's that sort of behaviour that we need to change. It's doesn't matter if you're late for an appointment, what really matters is that you keep yourself alive. I will be forever grateful for the excellent work of Magpas Air Ambulance."
Police Constable Jon Morris, casualty reduction officer at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, explained: "One of the most difficult things a police officer has to do is pass the terrible news to someone that a loved one has died in a road traffic collision. All too often these collisions occur on the roads we all share, regardless of the nature of our journey.
"The safety of road users is something very close to my heart, having supported so many families over a number of years, who have suffered a tragic loss in a traffic collision. This initiative demonstrates how members of the community can come together, with a common objective, to reduce the number of casualties on our roads and make everyone's journey safer."
Area Commander Chris Parker, in charge of community fire safety at Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "Making our roads safer to travel on is a key element of our community safety activity. We work alongside colleagues from the police, county councils, the Highways Agency and others to take a collaborative approach towards reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
"Despite our best efforts the challenge is increasing, so we are looking at more innovative ways to help reduce the amount of collisions we see on our road network. Working with local businesses that have vehicles travelling regularly across the county allows us to spread these important safety messages to motorists. Seeing these bumper stickers will hopefully lead them to think about changing their behaviour and drive that little bit safer."
The five most common factors of road traffic incidents
The five common factors are: speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt, being under the influence whilst behind the wheel and driving too close to the car in front.
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership have generously backed and funded this initiative.
- The Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner, representatives from Turners of Soham, Stagecoach, Dews, Greys of Ely, Amey, Skanska, Barons Cambridge BMW, Manchetts, Cambridgeshire Police, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service, Magpas Air Ambulance, Huntingdonshire District Council, Anglian Water, C-Way Driver Training, Toads School of Driving, Alconbury Driving Centre, Highways England in conjunction with Kier, (amongst many others) all parked up together, sporting road safety stickers on their bumpers reminding people of the five most common causes of road traffic accidents.
- Photos courtesy of Digital Photography by Rob Holding
- There are two sizes of stickers that we are encouraging people to put on their bumpers: one is 80mm x 428mm / the other is: 100mm decals is 525mm.
- At Magpas Air Ambulance, we would never wish for anyone to be involved in a serious accident. However, if they are, we want to be able to bring the highest level of PHEM (Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical) care to them - but we can only do this with public support.