Mercedes Benz World today pledged to reduce the number of road deaths caused by collisions involving young drivers.
The Surrey-based Brand Experience Centre is hosting Safe Drive, Stay Alive in Action with Surrey Fire & Rescue, six free courses in which attendees aged between 16 and 18 will experience first-hand the effects of losing control of a vehicle, before being taught how easily it can be avoided.
4,730 young drivers have been involved in injury collisions on Surrey’s roads in the last three years. Of these, 29 have died and eight of their passengers have been killed (SCC statistics, May 2008).
Safe Drive In Action is a follow-on from Surrey Fire and Rescue’s Safe Drive, Stay Alive event, a stage show aimed at raising awareness of the risks and dangers associated with young people driving. Leading Safe Drive, Stay Alive for Surrey Fire and Rescue, Group Manager Chris Gill commented: “Many young drivers can be carried away by the enjoyment of their new skills and their confidence may exceed their experience and judgement”.
“Safe Drive, Stay Alive is designed to educate Surrey’s young drivers by challenging attitudes and driving behaviours. Mercedes Benz World’s Safe Drive, Stay Alive in Action is a logical follow-on to our event, where teenagers aged between 16 and 18 are taken out on the Handling Circuits to physically experience the dangers we have previously introduced them to.”
Attendees will be taken onto the centre’s Handling Circuits and Wet Skid Circle, which is the only such facility open to the public in all of the UK. There, they will be shown how easy it is to lose control of a vehicle at speeds as low as 20mph, the impact of braking distances such as the length of time it takes to brake when travelling at 70mph, as well other car-handling abilities not possible on normal roads. A professional driver will then demonstrate practical ways of controlling a car in such circumstances.
Peter O’Halloran, managing director of Mercedes Benz World, explained: “Currently, the driving test does not cover any of these situations. This means that the majority of drivers on UK roads today have only experienced losing control of their vehicle, or braking at 70mph, in a real environment – and often with catastrophic consequences.
“Through Safe Drive, Stay Alive In Action we are using our facilities, and the skills of our staff, to offer young drivers these experiences in controlled conditions. We believe that, by doing this, we will make young drivers, safe drivers, and make a real difference to the UK’s roads.”
Safe Drive in Action is a free, half day workshop by Mercedes Benz World and Surrey Fire & Rescue, and will take place on 29 and 30 November 2008, and 6,7,13 and 14 December 2008.Published 4 November 2008