A group of young offenders received a graphic lesson in the horror of road crashes as part of the county’s multi-agency Road Kill programme.
In a one-day workshop at Bury St Edmunds fire station they found out the tragic consequences for themselves and others if they do not take the responsibility of driving seriously.
Road Kill was begun in Surrey by firefighter Rob Green whose wife was killed and he lost his legs when his motorbike was in collision with a car driven by a young driver.
The first workshop was held in Suffolk in December 2005, started by a former colleague of Rob Green, Crew Manager Trevor Hill. Road Kill is run by the fire service with the police, ambulance, Roadpeace and Suffolk’s Road Safety Team, Accident Rescue Service (SARS) and Youth Offending Service.
Fire service group commander John Wilcock said: “We do a ‘Learn and Live’ package for youngsters learning to drive but this is more hard hitting because these youngsters have been involved in crime and accidents.”
During the morning they see a Powerpoint presentation by a SARS doctor with graphic images for the scenes of accidents.
Fire fighter John Wilsher said: “It gives them some knowledge, explaining the risks involved when you take hold of a vehicle. In the afternoon they see what happens if you don’t listen — the consequences.”
The afternoon includes a demonstration of how fire fighters cut people out of a car, with two of their number as the crash victims.
John does not pull punches as he goes into the physical trauma of a crash impact on internal organs.
“Sometimes you get to an RTC and people are sitting there with not a mark on them, but they’ve got the thousand mile stare — they’re dead,” he said.
They saw the crew removing windows and tailgate then sawing through the laminated windscreen. Then hydraulic cutters, whose pincers have a 90 tonne force, slice through the pillars to remove the roof.
An ambulance paramedic sat in the car holding the victim’s head steady until, with the roof removed, a spine board was slid in behind him and he was lifted out strapped to it.
John says the youngsters do not understand the forces involved in a crash.
“It’s something that should be taught to everyone learning to drive,” he said.