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Publication date:- 2017-18-11

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 5 news items.    Page - 8.

Lawyer calls for drink and drug courses for learner drivers

LEARNER drink and drug driving information courses should be incorporated into driving test requirements, according to a leading motoring lawyer. Frank Rogers, head of Just Motor Law, the motoring division of Kirwans law firm, which has offices, in Hoghton Street, Southport, as well as in Liverpool and Wirral, is calling for an awareness raising element to be introduced into learner courses to ensure that drivers are completely clear of the law around driving, drink and drugs. Speaking at the National Road Safety Conference, Frank spoke of his concerns that despite the introduction of new drug driving legislation in 2015, many drivers still appeared to be passing their test with little or no knowledge of the effect that alcohol and drugs; including prescription drugs; could have on their ability to drive.

Frank said:- "Drivers who have been disqualified for at least 12 months for a drink drive offence can be referred to a drink drive rehabilitation (DDR) course, yet as it stands there is very little in place to educate new drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence before they hit the roads. DDR courses have had a remarkable effect on changing the behaviour of those convicted of drink driving offences, and I firmly believe that by introducing learner driver versions of these courses, incorporating additional information on drug driving, new drivers will be far better prepared mentally to keep both themselves and others safe on the roads."

More than 1,300 people were killed or seriously injured in drink driving incidents in 2015, and the latest figures show that alcohol is to blame for 12% of all road deaths. Road safety charity Brake also report that impairment by illegal or medical drugs was officially recorded as a contributory factor in 62 fatal road crashes and 259 crashes resulting in serious injuries in 2015, in Britain; but that experts believe that the true figure could be much higher.

Frank said:- "According to the Department for Transport, offenders who attend a DDR course are 2.6 times less likely to re-offend. With that in mind, I would urge the DfT to introduce learner drivers to their own version of such a course before they even hit the roads, in the expectation that the information retained would help drivers make informed choices when it comes to drink and drugs."


Road crash victims remembered

A special service to remember those who have died or been injured on our roads will be held in Liverpool on Sunday, 19 November 2017.

Road Peace has organised the remembrance service in the concert room of St George's Hall, part of the charity's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. It takes place, at 2pm, within the St George's Hall, following which guests will be invited to the memorial for crash victims in neighbouring St John's Gardens where 5 doves will be released to mark the 5 people who are killed each day on our country's roads.

Pauline Fielding, from Liverpool, organises the annual event for Road Peace, where she turned to for support after her son Andrew was killed in 1994 at the age of just 18, in a crash caused by a driver who did not stay at the scene and who was never traced. She is now a trustee of the charity and says the service, which will be led by the Rector of Liverpool, Crispin Pailing, is a poignant way for people to pay tribute as well as raising awareness of how dangerous driving costs lives.

Pauline said:- "We invite all those who have been bereaved or injured in road crashes, together with those who support us, to join us for this event. In every death there are so many people affected and this service offers the families and friends of those who have died or been injured the opportunity to come together and remember their loved ones. It is also a chance for us to give thanks to the emergency services for their support and to highlight this unacceptable death toll and reflect on what can be done to prevent further tragedies."

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, will attend the event. He said:- "I am honoured to be part of this service which highlights the importance of road safety by remembering those who have lost their lives or been injured as a result of a crash. It's a poignant ceremony with a strong message of support for those family and friends affected by this issue."

Chief Inspector Tony Jones said:- "Merseyside Police takes road safety extremely seriously and we are committed to working with the wider community to improve the safety of our roads and reducing the numbers of people killed and injured each year. Whist we do undertake roads policing enforcement we would rather concentrate on educating all road users to make our roads a safer place and prevent the collisions happening in the 1st place. To this end we work closely with local authority colleagues from across the region to engage with and educate as many people as we can. Ultimately we want to encourage people to drive safely so that everyone can stay as safe as possible on the roads and this means basic things such as staying off your mobile phone when you are driving, wearing seat belts, adhering to speed limits and obeying traffic lights. Sunday, 19 November 2017 is the annual Road Peace ceremony, which is held in Liverpool as part of the charity's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, and hopefully it will make people think about the way they drive. There are no excuses for dangerous behaviour whilst driving; please think safety 1st and give some thought as to what the cost could be to your or someone else's family member if you don't."

Refreshments will be served in St George's Hall following the service, which has been sponsored this year by serious injury specialists Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

Carol Hopwood, a lawyer at the Liverpool branch said:- "Road Peace works tirelessly to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, which tragically still stands at thousands every year. The charity also provides essential support to victims and their families, whose lives have been devastated as a result of what are often completely avoidable incidents. Slater and Gordon is proud to sponsor this service of remembrance, which is so important to so many people, and to support the work of Road Peace in making our roads safer for everyone."

The event in Liverpool is 1 of many taking place across the globe as part of Road Peace's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. It was 1st introduced in 1993 and quickly spread to other European countries before being adopted by the United Nations in 2005.

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