The devastating consequences of road accidents were driven home to youngsters at a Bradford school yesterday.

Sixth form pupils from Rhodesway School in Allerton were shown a hard-hitting DVD containing personal accounts from accident survivors and families of victims who had lost their loved ones on the roads.

The DVD, produced by West Yorkshire road safety charity Brake, aims to get youngsters to think about the consequences of irresponsible driving including the dangers of excessive speed, drink and drug driving and not wearing seatbelts.

The two-hour session was delivered by solicitors from Irwin Mitchell, a Leeds-based firm which specialises in cases involving road traffic victims.

Carolyn Heaton, of the firm's personal injury team, said: "Road accidents are the biggest single killer of 12 to 16-year-olds.

"We are seeing more and more accidents involving young drivers and it is such a tragedy to see young lives irreparably damaged or cut tragically short through driving without a full realisation of the consequences."

Her colleague Hema Rana, said: "Some of our young clients who have been in accidents can no longer walk, have to have 24-hour care or wear incontinence pads as a result.

"We want the youngsters to understand that this is often the grim reality of being involved in a road traffic accident."

The pupils watched in silence as family members and accident survivors talked candidly about their experiences. Adal Ahmed, 18, who passed his driving test in June, said: "This has made me think about the way I drive even more.

"I lost my aunt and uncle in a road traffic accident so I know myself what the devastating consequences are. Some of the facts and statistics about young drivers were really frightening."

Safina Kauser, 17, who has just started taking driving lessons, said: "Seeing how people's lives have been changed is very sad and it has really affected me.

"I will be a better driver for this."

Mick Woodhouse, head of sixth form at Rhodesway, said: "There have been a number of pupils at the school involved in road traffic accidents over the last five years and that highlights the need for sessions such as this one.

"A lot of the pupils will have just passed their driving tests or be having lessons so it's a good time to educate them about the dangers of driving irresponsibly."

Terry Bostock, senior school trainer in road safety for Bradford Council was also at the session.

He said: "Showing young people the impacts of crashes is very effective. I will be delivering similar training sessions to schools throughout Bradford."


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