The real-life impact of traffic collisions is being laid bare in a hard-hitting campaign in Greater Manchester, featuring bereaved parents and emergency services staff.
As part of the 'It's Time' campaign, the Safer Roads Partnership is calling on motorists to think differently about how they drive and the journeys they are going to make, before getting behind the wheel.
On average, 681 people have been killed or seriously injured on Greater Manchester’s roads each year over the last five years. Last year, 67 people died, the highest number over the five-year period (54, 50, 50 and 63 deaths were recorded between 2016 and 2019 respectively).
The Limits Save Lives campaign comes as data shows that speeding over the limit kills or seriously injuries 21 per cent of people involved in crashes in Greater Manchester and up to 40 per cent of car journeys in the city-region have been recorded to be over the speed limit.
In a series of videos, it puts the spotlight on how dangerous acts, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, have far-reaching consequences by telling the real-life stories of the people affected.
Two of those people, Dee and Dean Wilson, speak about the devastating impact of losing their 21-year-old son Matt to a road traffic collision in 2011.
Dee said: “You’ll never know what it is like to lose a child until you lose a child. When you turn that key, you are in charge of something capable of taking a life. Not only your own as the driver, but other people who may be walking or other drivers too.
“People say it is one of the worst things that can happen to a person so how awful would it be to know that you caused that kind of pain to somebody.
“You shouldn’t be texting on your phone or doing any of those silly things. Please take driving as a serious thing to do as the consequences are huge.”
The campaign also features a reconstruction of a collision, based on true events. In it, a young man is seen speeding whilst on his mobile phone before colliding with another car and killing a young mother.
Of all reported collisions in Greater Manchester, 58 per cent involve a driver aged between 17 and 35, while 80 per cent of all fatal collisions involve a male driver.
Research shows that young men do not believe serious consequences are likely and believe the worst case scenario is a speeding ticket. The purpose of this campaign is to demonstrate this is not the case, and to change behaviours.
PC John Durham, Family Liaison Officer at Greater Manchester Police, said: “The dangerous things you do when driving, whether that is driving at speed or with alcohol and drugs, it all adds to the chances of something going wrong.
“You never ever get used to the reaction of telling somebody that their loved one is dead. You do not want to be the subject of one of these stories.”
Scott Barry-Godsell, Firefighter at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, commented: “No drink for the road is what we say. The smallest amount of alcohol can have a massive impact on the decisions you make, a split-second decision can have a lifetime of consequences.”
The number of trips on Greater Manchester’s roads is close to pre-pandemic levels, with 32.8m journeys made in the week ending 5 September, compared with 34.8m prior to March 2020 – with the number expected to exceed ‘normal’ levels following the return to school and as more people return to workplaces.
In comparison, patronage on the region’s buses, trams and trains are currently about 65 per cent, 50 per cent and 70 per cent respectively of pre-pandemic levels.