West Yorkshire Police’s One Life Lost campaign has been hailed for its impact after roads policing officers visited more than 50 schools and colleges to make them aware of the devastating consequences of dangerous driving.
Figures show that the number of overall causalities on the roads dropped by six per cent during 2016, the first full year of the campaign.
There were also 34 fewer people killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads during the same period compared to the previous year.
The campaign has seen Inspector James Farrar, Sergeant Cameron Buchan, PC Nigel Fawcett-Jones and PC Steve Oliver rearrange shifts and give up their own time to speak with teenagers aged 16 and over about the dangers of the #fatal4 – drink/drugs, speeding, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt.
There are the four factors most commonly involved in crashes which result in fatalities or life-changing injuries.
Officers talk about the dreadful impact of such collisions and even show young people a body bag of the kind which victims of fatal incidents would be put into at crash scenes.
The presentations have been widely praised by headteachers, school staff, parents and the students themselves, some of whom have been reduced to tears after hearing the testimony of the mum of a young man killed in a crash.
Inspector Farrar, who devised the campaign, said it had gone from strength to strength since it launch in 2015.
"I never imagined it would be the success it has become and I thank my colleagues Cameron, Nigel and Steve for the support they have shown from day one and throughout," he said.
“We can now say that there are now 10,000 young adults within West Yorkshire whose attitudes to road safety have been positively influenced and will no doubt contribute to improving road safety across the region and that is fantastic.
“The feedback from the students themselves, their teachers, their parents and our partners has been excellent and I want to thank the schools and colleges involved for all their support."
Inspector Farrar said he had been heartened to see that the numbers of people killed on the roads had fallen during the campaigns run in 2016, despite an increase in traffic levels.
He added: “As roads policing officers we still see the devastating effects of fatal and serious collisions first hand all too often, I can’t stress enough how much it means to us personally to do what we can to prevent these incidents taking place and sparing more families the pain of losing a loved one in this way.
“We are now taking repeated bookings from the post-16 educational establishments we have already visited and are re-attending annually in order to catch each new year group as they come through.
“The young people we speak with are the ones who can make a difference by making our roads safer now and in the future and they are the ambassadors for what we are trying to achieve.”