A powerful new video about the consequences of road crashes is set to drive home vital safety messages to new West Midlands drivers.
‘The Ripple Effect’ features two real families left devastated after a son and a daughter were hit by speeding vehicles.
Police and fire officers from the West Midlands talk of the horrors they have to deal with following a crash, while young pupils from Birmingham’s Gilbertstone Primary school deliver sobering road safety facts and statistics.
The project is a joint initiative between West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service, led by Sgt Russell Webb of South Yardley neighbourhood policing team and Watch Commander Paul Bayliss of Red Watch at Hay Mills Community Fire Station.
“We’re really pleased with how the video has turned out, which is due in no small part to the bravery and dignity of the two families who agreed to be filmed,” said Sgt Webb.
“Their stories are incredibly powerful and emotional. Anyone who watches it will be moved and deeply affected by what they see and hear. We see the awful consequences of unsafe driving almost every day,” added W/Cdr Bayliss. “We work closely with West Midlands Police on a number of initiatives to educate drivers about the dangers of the road. This video, featuring real people’s real stories, will now complement that work.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Nearly 900 people were killed or seriously injured on West Midlands roads in 2013. In each case, victims, friends and families facing awful tragedy, bereavement and life changing injuries. This powerful film, made possible by two courageous families, should challenge each one of us to think about how we drive and the consequences of speeding and carelessness behind the wheel.
“Road safety is one of my key priorities and I will do whatever I can to make our roads safer for everyone, especially our children. I sincerely believe that this film, which is so clear on the consequences of dangerous driving, will help get the message through.”
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Firefighters in the West Midlands extricated 451 people from wrecked vehicles last year. We are confident this video will play a key role in helping to lower that figure and prevent some of the loss of life and dreadful injuries that are happening on our roads every day.”
Viewers meet Stuart Fisher and his parents, Barry and Zena, and hear how their lives were changed for ever when Stuart was hit by a speeding car on the promenade at Blackpool. Chilling police helicopter footage shows the moment Stuart, from Walsall, was hit by the car and carried along for several metres before the driver left him for dead. Serious head injuries left him dependant on a wheelchair and he had to learn again how to breathe, speak and eat.
The video’s second story features Avril Child, from Birmingham, whose daughter Sarah was killed when a car hit her and one of her sisters at 70 miles an hour. Avril describes Sarah’s last few seconds alive, as her sister lay injured and unable to help her, and her reaction when she was told her daughter was dead.
‘The Ripple Effect’ also features W/Cdr Bayliss, Sgt Webb and his colleague Sgt Laura Floyd, reflecting on the risks of speeding, drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt, and the dangers of distractions at the wheel such as texting or making a phone call. They speak openly about the collision scenes they often attend.
“We know that speeding and the anti-social use of vehicles are key concerns for our communities,” added Paul. “The video will be used on a speed awareness course we offer with the police at Hay Mills fire station, and we’re aiming to get a copy to all of our sixth forms and driving test centres.”
Added Sgt Webb: “We want as many people as possible to see the video, here in the West Midlands and further afield. We’d like it to get a life of its own as people share it online and via social media. We hope it will save at least one life, but ideally many.”
The video, which was filmed around Birmingham, can be viewed and shared at http://youtu.be/c8esxrg8et0