Date: 28th June, 2016
A road safety initiative developed in Wiltshire is being adopted by the British Army.
Since 2008, the Safe Drive Stay Alive partnership has been delivering a bespoke road safety presentation to military personnel and contractors based at local garrisons.
The partnership comprises of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council, Arval Ltd, SWIFT Medics, Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Severn Major Trauma Network.
On 8 June, the team was invited to British Army Headquarters in Andover to give the presentation to Master Drivers from units across the country and encourage them to establish similar programmes in their area.
Ian Hopkins, who co-ordinates the programme for the partnership, said: “Since 2001, there has been an average of 37 military personnel killed on the UK’s roads each year, and road traffic collisions are one of the most common causes of death for people in the military. With Salisbury Plain right in the middle of Wiltshire, we have been working with our local garrisons for some years, and we now want to help other road safety partnerships to consider similar programmes in their areas.”
While the principle of Safe Drive Stay Alive exists in many other parts of the country, usually as a schools programme, Wiltshire was the first county to focus specifically on the military.
In addition to the main presentation – a mixture of powerful personal testimony from firefighters, medics, police officers, bereaved parents and people who have been directly involved in crashes, and dramatic video footage – the Army roadshow includes a focus on drink/drug driving.
Brigadier Crispin Walker, Head of Logistics (Army), said: “In my 32 years in the Army, we have lost more soldiers on the roads than in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Afghanistan combined. The statistics show that a soldier is more likely to die in a road traffic collision than in conflict – that may be down to demographics, or even attitude to risk, but we have to take action.”
He added: “The Safe Drive partnership in Wiltshire has been doing great work with 43 Wessex Brigade, and I am very keen to see that replicated in all of our bases across the UK. This launch event brought together the key players from across the Army, and the feedback from them has been excellent. I am sure we will soon see other road safety programmes for our personnel right across the UK.”