Getting behind the wheel of a car is a goal for plenty of students come their 17th birthday and it can be an exciting time. The independence that comes hand-in-hand with passing the driving test is something to celebrate, but the responsibility that sits with it is to be taken seriously too.

Representatives from Merseyside Police and the Fire and Rescue Service came to visit as part of the Sixth Form College’s commitment to preparing students for the world beyond and outside of college, and brought with them a fascinating yet hauntingly visceral example of their work.

The mangled remains of a hatchback lay in the Shrewsbury Road car park, and students were given the chance to act as a forensic team and evaluate the evidence to draw up a picture of what had become of the vehicle before learning the truth later on.

During talks, PC Mike Abram, a road traffic investigation specialist, let students take part in Field Impairment Tests, complete with special glasses to recreate possible drink and drug influence on the brain. See how Hannah Travis got on with one test below!

Field Impairment Tests from Birkenhead Sixth Form College on Vimeo.

Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager Jez Williamson described how teaching the topic is not the same as it used to be: “Statistically speaking, this age group of 17-25 are more likely to be killed in a car than anything else. It used to be that they’d get shown horror images of things that had happened to other people as a kind of warning, but this hands-on learning is far more effective.”

Jez, who lost his three best friends to a car accident at the age of 16, said: “Quite often, it’s not that the young people are doing anything wrong; it’s just poor decision making for that time. If we can give them strategies that help them make the right decisions – like ‘should I really be in the car with four or five people at that particular time’, or ‘what if someone’s driving too fast’, or maybe whether or not to take an unfamiliar road – and we can help influence sensible behaviour and decisions, then that makes our job worthwhile.”

Our visitors explained that the 17-25 age group, statistically, become increasingly more likely to be involved in an accident the more people that are in the car, with the probability of a young driver crashing rising over 300% with three passengers on board.

The remains of the car in the car park were from an accident involving four teenage friends in which the driver lost his life. The wrong decisions involved in the tragedy were plenty of food for thought for the students.

The Sixth Form College’s partnership with iGo Driving School is also part of the commitment to encourage safer driving and give students the best platforms for after their A Levels.  

Driving Safety Car Wreck Feb 2016