700 students have been getting important road safety messages from St John and the other emergency services.
The emergency ambulance service has been working with colleagues from Guernsey Police and Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service in the annual ‘Licence to Kill’ event for secondary school students.
The hard-hitting hour-long talk looked at the potential lifelong ramifications a single bad decision can have on you and those around you when you’re behind the wheel of a car.
Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp said “As a paramedic I have attended too many collisions where people have suffered life changing injuries, those images are still very clear in my mind. Our ambulance crews regularly attend incidents on Guernsey’s road involving cars or motorbikes that can so often be avoided. I hope that by making young people aware of the consequences of road traffic collisions we can help avoid emotional and physical pain for both them as individuals and their families. The messages are clear. Don’t drink drive and don’t get into a car with a drink driver. Don’t be tempted to speed or show off when you’re behind the wheel. Wear your seatbelt and don’t be distracted by phone calls or text messages when you’re driving.”
St John Ambulance Clinician Jim Cathcart said: “We deal first hand with the sometimes horrific injuries which result from car crashes. This presentation, although hard hitting, allows us to show young people with their whole lives ahead of them the impact of a single bad decision can have on them, their friends and their family.”
Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service firefighter Gavin Robins said: “Our role in car crashes is to get people out of the vehicle, and after it has been involved in an impact extracting people from the twisted remains is no easy task. All that while lives can hang in the balance – and this is all down to the poor decisions of the person behind the wheel. The driver could have gotten them to their destination safely, but it is their bad choices which led to this moment. It could have been avoided. And they will have to live with that. The message from this presentation is simple: drive safely.”
Roads Policing Officer Matthew du Port said: “Dangerous driving has no place whatsoever on our roads. It’s vitally important we do everything we can to educate those who are about to become drivers that yes, these terrible things can happen to you and it is you who can prevent them by taking responsibility, driving safely and knowing that a single moment of stupidity can kill or maim either you or those you care about. It’s up to everyone in that car to say “stop”.”
The presentation included a talk from Becci Hey, whose son Josh Bryant – who was just 20 years old – was killed in a car crash over seven years ago. He was a passenger. His friend was driving. He chose to speed. He survived. Becci wants to give these talks to save lives. To make others think about their decisions when they’re driving – so that no other family has to receive this worst of all news. So that no other parent has to bury their child. So that no friends have to attend a funeral of their best mate. So that no other community has to deal with the fallout of such a tragic death at a young age.
“I wanted to raise awareness and educate young drivers and potential drivers,” she said, “of the very real tragic consequences of someone making a bad decision.
“Josh was just 20 years old, and on the 27th April 2012, he was a passenger in a car where the driver chose to speed. The roads were quiet similar to Guernsey roads, very rural. The driver lost control and he hit a tree. Josh was killed. The driver survived.
“I had a call from one of Josh’s friends who was travelling in a car behind telling me there had been an accident. I was at the police cordon 200 metres from the crash, they understandably wouldn’t let me through. I remember the Police Liaison Officer walking toward me, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
“There is a ripple effect, the aftermath, it affects everything and everybody. What I want is for the students to take away from this is that it can happen to them, they are not invincible. When I do these talks, the students are affected, there have been tears, hopefully it has made them think and realise these things do happen. About 700 people went to his funeral, and it affected our community for a long time.
“Now we are living life for him, in his memory, and to try and prevent another family going through this.”
Licence to Kill is supported by Rossborough Insurance.