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Roses for remembrance on the roads this Valentine’s Day

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Roses will mean more than ‘I love you’ this Valentine’s day with the launch of a hard hitting campaign to address deaths on the roads.

Selected colleges across the Black Country will be custodians of a display of 116 red roses, one rose to represent each young person from the West Midlands aged between 17 and 24 killed or seriously injured either as passengers or drivers of a vehicle over the last 12 months.

The poignant beauty of the blooms aims to bring home to young people the potentially catastrophic consequences of inappropriate driving behaviour. It’s a starting point to consider not only their own responsibility as drivers but also to consider the choices they have as a passenger. Road safety staff will be sharing coping strategies and techniques for managing difficult situations and dealing with peer pressure, when saying ‘no’ can feel awkward but could be life-saving.

The campaign will be launched around Valentine’s Day with the focus on looking out for the one you love, be it a girlfriend, boyfriend, friends or family members.  

It is a joint project between Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Sandwell Councils, with the support of West Midlands Fire Service. On the 14 February road Safety staff from Dudley Council, will launch their campaign with a display of 116 red roses at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge. Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell will launch their campaigns over the 13 and 14 February.

Alan Guest, from the Dudley Council road safety team, King Ed's student Fiona Garrett, 16, college assistant principal Sarah McKenzie and Cllr Karen Shakespeare

The fire service will be bringing along their virtual reality goggles and kit which will immerse users in a real life scenario. These include travelling as a passenger in a group of friends engaging in risky behaviours. This scenario develops into a road traffic accident, with injured passengers being extracted by the emergency services.

The second scenario puts the student in the driver’s seat, where they are faced with a series of questions along their journey based on risky driving behaviour and the fatal four behaviours – inappropriate behaviour, using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt and drink/drug driving. 

Students will also have the opportunity to watch '90 second life-savers,’ short, digestible 360 films covering pedestrian, bike and motorcycle safety.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services said:

This beautiful display of roses carries a poignant message, 116 young people killed or injured in the past 12 months. It’s shocking that there are still so many unnecessary deaths on the road and it’s heart-breaking for those left behind, but especially when they involve young people, destroying families and futures.
Events like this help make the dangers of the road much more real and I hope that the students find the day and the virtual reality goggles a sobering but informative experience. Even if this campaign saves just one life it will be worth it.”

For more information on the work of the road safety team visit

https://www.dudley.gov.uk/residents/parking-and-roads/road-safety-and-travel-awareness/

To find out more about the work of WMFS and road safety visit https://www.wmfs.net/safety/on-the-road/

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