More than 60 young people were injured and needed hospital treatment following crashes in Merseyside, new figures released to mark CFOA Road Safety Week show.
Distractions are the key theme for the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) Road Safety Week, which takes place from June 8 to June 14, 2015.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service rescues more people from crashes on Merseyside’s roads than from house fires caused by accident.
New figures show that 980 people were injured and required hospital treatment following crashes on Merseyside’s roads attended by firefighters between January 1, 2013, and May 31, 2015. Of those 980 people, 11 were 17-years-old and 53 were 16-years-old and under.
Between January 1, 2013, and May 31, 2015, 244 people were rescued by firefighters following a crash on a Merseyside road, while 114 were rescued in Merseyside from a house fire caused by accident during the same period.
June is one of the months of the year that has seen the largest amount of rescues from crashes on Merseyside’s roads with 13 rescued by firefighters in June 2013 and 10 rescued in June 2014.
Watch Manager John Cousins, Road Safety Co-ordinator at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Young people are still disproportionately at risk on the roads and you are most at risk when you first start to drive. Inexperienced drivers and distraction is a lethal cocktail.
“You may think you’re used to multi-tasking: but texting and using the internet while you’re watching TV isn’t the same as doing so while you’re behind the wheel. Your reaction times are 50% slower while talking on a phone, and you’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile while driving.”
“Distracted driving isn’t just dangerous for you – it puts your passengers, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at risk too,” Watch Manager Cousins added.
Whether you’re younger or older, using a mobile phone, texting, using in-vehicle technologies (such as satnavs) and even eating can distract you from the road. Even if it’s just for a few seconds – that’s all it takes to have or cause a crash.
• There’s no safe way to use a phone whilst driving – turn it off or put it on silent, and put it out of reach.
• Be a safe passenger – let the driver focus on the road.
• Just drive – eating, drinking and smoking whilst driving reduces your reaction time.
• Set your satnav or your sound system before you drive. If you need to adjust them, pull over in a safe place.
Firefighters staged a car rescue demonstration on Monday morning (June 8) at a supermarket car park in Southport. Two fire appliances from Southport Community Fire Station were at the location and around 30 people watched the demonstration.
The Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service crash car trailer, which has a damaged car on display to drive home the impact collisions can have, was also on display.
During the demonstration, firefighters removed a car roof to show the equipment they use to rescue people.
Crew Manager Steve McManus, who is part of White Watch at Southport Community Fire Station and organised the event, said: “The event was a success and there was a good turnout. We were able to give plenty of advice on road safety to the public.”
Sergeant Paul Mountford, of Merseyside Police’s roads policing casualty reduction team, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and will continue to target the minority of motorists who continue to flout the law and recklessly endanger lives, during the summer months.
“Lack of concentration features heavily in many road traffic collisions and drivers need to be aware that actions such as using their mobile phone, eating or reading pose a significant threat to their safety and the safety of other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians.
“You are four times more likely to be involved in a collision if using your mobile phone while driving. And it is proven that you halve your chance of dying in a collision if you wear a seat belt in either the front or back of the car.
“Our officers will continue to adopt a zero tolerance approach to the offences that cause the most serious collisions such as using your phone, speeding and not wearing a seat belt.
“Anyone found using a mobile phone while driving is liable to a £100 fine and three penalty points or £100 for not wearing a seat belt. If a driver is found to have used a mobile at the time of a collision they could be charged with dangerous driving.”
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