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Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Shock treatment for drivers
North Yorkshire paramedic at window of car
A paramedic tells a driver just how dangerous speeding can be
By Jerry Ibbotson

Police in North Yorkshire have launched an unusual campaign to persuade speeding drivers to slow down, by using fire fighters and paramedics to get the message across.

Drivers who are stopped at police speed traps this summer will be handed over to members of the other two emergency services, who will spell out the consequences of driving at inappropriate speeds.

In what is being called the Three Nines campaign, a fire-fighter will first explain what happens when his colleagues turn up at a road accident and have to cut a driver or passenger free from the wreckage of a car.

Picture of carnage from a road crash at 40 mph
One of the crash pictures drivers are shown
Then a paramedic will give details of the kind of problems ambulance crews face when trying to save the life of someone injured in a car crash.

The motorist will also be shown photographs of wrecked vehicles that have been involved in crashes at different speeds. After that the driver will be passed back to the traffic officer, who will decide whether to give them a ticket or just a warning about their driving.

Inspector Keith Doyle of North Yorkshire Police hopes it will produce results: "By bringing the three services together we think it will be a positive and dynamic way of getting the message across," he said.

"It's not just about law enforcement, which is the police's job, but as a way of raising awareness among the public about the result of speeding for all road users. The higher the speed, the worse the accident."

The kind of details the paramedic and fire-fighters will give out include the work involved in cutting someone free from a wrecked car, the risk of a vehicle bursting into flames with people trapped inside and the kind of injuries sustained by different parts of the body in a crash.

North Yorks firefighter lecturing motorist at roadside
Drivers are told how firefighters have to cut victims from wreckage
The photographs of accident scenes show cars that have been left almost unrecognisable, even at legal speeds.

But Group Ambulance Officer Peter Mortimer insists these are not simply shock tactics. "It's about education," he said.

"This is a learning curve for the public who, to be honest, do not understand the implication of speed. Even at 30mph, an impact has devastating consequences. People just need to understand that."

Across the country, the emergency services are faced with targets to cut the number of road accidents.

But in North Yorkshire alone the Fire and Rescue Service say they pull more people from burning cars each year than they do from burning buildings.

The authorities hope that the campaign will be more effective than a straight forward ticking-off from a police officer - and that speeding drivers will really take notice.

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | UK
Rise in child road deaths
31 May 00 | Talking Point
Speeding: Should the law be enforced?
17 May 00 | Scotland
'Racetrack' roads clampdown
13 Apr 00 | Scotland
Scotland's road death toll falls
05 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
'Shocking' death toll on NI roads
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