A safety campaign that uses animals to symbolise poor driving habits is set to be rolled out across Essex in the United Kingdom to reduce crashes caused by young or inexperienced drivers. The award-winning Honest Truth campaign uses eye-catching images of young people with the heads of animals such as cheetahs and parrots.
The cheetah is used to identify a speeding driver, the parrot someone using their mobile phone and a bulldog identifies a drink driver. Drug users are seen as chameleons, a driver with no insurance is shown as an ass and show-offs are peacocks.Those who fail to wear seat belts are shown as a rhino - to show how a passenger without a seat belt can be thrown around in a crashing car with the same effect as a charging rhinoceros.
The campaign, which will be launched later this month, relies on linking crucial messages to animals to remind young people of the dangers they could face.Driving instructors will be encouraged to use prompt cards with the images of the animals to drive home crucial messages appropriate to each individual learner driver during their lessons.
The Honest Truth catchline of the campaign asks all drivers to study the images and to identify if their own driving behaviour falls into any of the dangerous categories.The campaign was developed in South Devon after a road crash in which three young people aged nine, 17 and 19 died.
The campaign has so far proved to be a huge success and won numerous national awards and is being adopted by partnerships across the UK.On average, a young person is killed on UK roads every 18 hours, while another suffers a serious injury every 90 minutes.In Essex a young person is killed, on average, every 28 days, while another suffers a serious injury every 36 hours.On average, each year in Essex, 98 collisions involve young car drivers. Of these young drivers, four are killed and a further 65 seriously injured.
However, in 40 of these collisions, while the young driver is not injured, their actions were a contributory factor in the deaths of four other road users and in serious injury to a further 47.
Essex Police will be leading the campaign for the Essex Casualty Reduction Board and will be working closely with driving instructors, the fire and rescue service and the road safety teams in Essex, Southend and Thurrock.
“I welcome the introduction of the Honest Truth campaign to Essex, and I hope the initiative raises driver awareness as successfully as it did in Devon.“We must continue to use innovative means to remind everyone of our responsibility to drive safely and responsibly on the roads of our county.”
Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, Cllr Rodney Bass said: "It is important to engage young people to ensure they drive safely.
“The partnership wants to drive these messages home before these young people take to the roads on their own, or with friends.
“This campaign presents a novel opportunity to promote safety to young drivers, in a memorable way.”
Essex Casualty Reduction Board is holding seminars in Chelmsford on October 27 and 28 to launch the campaign and issue free resources to approved driving instructors across the county.