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SECAmb urges young to sign up to virtual driving software and save lives

17 July 2013

Prompted by a number of sadly fatal and serious road traffic collisions across its Sussex, Surrey and Kent region in recent weeks, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) has teamed up with road safety campaign group Drive IQ to remind drivers of the need to take extra care on the region’s roads.

Drive IQ is a piece of online software which provides a virtual driving experience for users. Aimed particularly at young people, but of benefit to all, the software provides preparation for in-car lessons with six free e-learning modules to help with driving awareness, coping with distraction, improving observation and avoiding crashes.

SECAmb’s Driving Standards Manager Simon Macartney is a former road policing officer and advanced driving instructor. As well as supporting the education and driver training of all SECAmb staff he also works closely with external organisations to promote driving and road safety.

He said: “We’d really urge young people who are thinking about learning to drive but also all drivers to make use of this free software. Many of the A roads in the countryside across our region present unique risks to road-users and require extreme caution and consideration.

“Busy lifestyles, work and peer pressure make us drive faster. Fatigue, impairment, speed, vehicle maintenance and poor driving standards all contribute to the collisions we see and attend and human error can account for almost 99% of all collisions.

“However experienced you are you should take extra care and ‘drive to arrive’, especially when driving round bends and be sure to keep within not only the posted speed limits, but at a speed appropriate to the surrounding traffic and environment.”

Drive IQ campaign manager Emma Gardner said: “It’s absolutely tragic that people are being killed and seriously injured on the roads across SECAmb’s region. Learning to drive should address young people’s attitude and behaviour behind the wheel of a car. Some one in five of new drivers have an accident on our roads within their first year of driving.

“Teenagers are instinctively ‘invincible’ and science shows that the frontal lobe of their brains is not fully developed until they are 24 or 25 years old. This is the part of the brain that controls such things as risk assessment, danger anticipation and emotions. We hear so many young drivers say that they really only learn to drive once they have passed their test, this is a recipe for disaster. Something needs to change before more lives are lost unnecessarily.”

Ambulance crews are of course at the front line of all serious and fatal road collisions to attempt life-saving treatment and ensure patients have the best possible chance of survival.

SECAmb Paramedic, David Davis added: “I am extremely proud of the outstanding care that my colleagues along with colleagues from our fire and rescue services and police provide to the patients involved in serious road collisions across our region every day. But, however excellent the response of the emergency services are, there is no substitute for first having avoided an incident in the first place.

“This is why I, like Emma and everyone at Drive IQ, believe that education is key and should start young. I’m going to be encouraging my own childrens’ school to promote the programme and would particularly urge every teenager to log on via the website. It could save lives.”

To find out more visit the Drive IQ website at or follow on Twitter - @drive_iq.

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