On Tuesday 5 November, Hertfordshire County Council launched Learn 2 Live: a hard-hitting event designed to teach young people how to drive safely and avoid road accidents.  The event is one of a series of Road Safety Partnerships aimed at 16 to 18 year olds.

Over 160 young people from Birchwood High School attended the event at the Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford.  They listened to different speakers describe their experiences of road traffic collisions involving young people.  Accounts were given by the fire service, police and air ambulance alongside moving experiences of people who have lost loved ones in road accidents.  Guidance was also provided by Trading Standards about the purchase and maintenance of second hand cars.

Angela Felstead, who spoke at the Learn 2 Live event described the loss of her own son, Leigh. She said: “It’s not always someone else it happens to and young people need to hear that from someone who’s experienced it. I spoke at the Learn 2 Live event to try and prevent young drivers losing their lives and other families going through the same pain that we have experienced. When I spoke to the young people who attended, I also wanted them to remember that they have so much to give, so much to see and do in life. Their lives are too important to be thrown away.”

Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Planning explained: “The statistics show that 17 to 24 year olds are at an increased risk of being involved in traffic collisions. In Hertfordshire alone last year there were 111 serious injuries or fatal road traffic collisions involving this age group. That’s why an event like this is so important.”

Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways and Waste Management said: “Through targeting learner or new drivers at Learn 2 Live events it is hoped that the behaviour of some young drivers will be altered, meaning that some of these life-changing traffic collisions could be avoided in the future.”

Students who attended the event described Learn 2 Live as intense, hard-hitting and something that helped them to think about the consequences of dangerous driving. One explained: “It’s the real life accounts that had the most impact. When it comes from the mouth of someone who has actually experienced it, it really brings the reality home.”

Another student who had recently passed his test said that the Learn 2 Live events would: “help a lot of people who don’t drive to think about how they should act when catching a lift with a friend.”

The Learn 2 Live programme was delivered as a pilot scheme this year. However in 2014, Learn 2 Live events will take place in a variety of venues across Hertfordshire to bring home to young drivers the potentially devastating effects of road collisions. The Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership is made up of the: County Council, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Police and Air Ambulance.

Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards department is also backing a campaign called ‘Check it don’t regret it’ by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and Citizens Advice Bureau to coincide with National Consumer Week (NCW), which began on November 4. It urges people to assess whether a used car they are considering buying is safe, legal and what they expect.