Ashley was 15 when his life changed forever. Under the influence of alcohol and drugs Ashley chose to join up with some friends and go on a joy-riding spree in a stolen car. The car left the road and hit a tree. Ashley was not wearing a seat belt and he sustained a very serious head injury.
Pete - Ashley's Carer
If Ashley had known that at that moment his life would change and he would lose most things that are dear to him...
Lesley - Ashley's Mum
For five years he just lay in a bed or wheelchair not being able to communicate with us...
I thought I knew best and thought I was untouchable. Nobody knows what is on the other side of your choices...
Driving too fast for the conditions is a major cause of crashes. Excessive speed contributes to 12% of all injury-causing crashes, 18% of crashes resulting in a serious injury and 28% of all fatal crashes.
Around 1,000 people are killed each year on Britain’s roads because drivers and riders travel too fast.
The vast majority (80%) of car user deaths occur on rural roads, as do two-thirds of serious injuries. The nature of rural roads: narrow, bendy but with high speeds, is a likely cause for the severity of crashes. Speed is acknowledged as one of the biggest contributing factors to these crashes. The faster you go the bigger the mess.
At 30mph vehicles are travelling at 13.4m (about three car lengths) each second. One short glance away and the driver may fail to see the telltale movement of a child behind a parked car. Even in good conditions, the difference in stopping distance between 30mph and 35 mph is an extra 6.4m, more than two car lengths.
At 35mph a driver is twice as likely to kill someone as they are at 30mph.
- Hit by a car at 30 mph, two out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 35 mph, five out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 40 mph, nine out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
Drivers who exceed speed limits are not only more likely to be involved in crashes, but are also more likely to commit other road traffic offences such as close following, running red lights, and drink-driving.
Learner drivers have few accidents because they are always under supervision. But once they have passed their test - and can drive unsupervised - their chances of crashing increase dramatically. Young drivers are much more likely to crash than experienced drivers.
1 in 5 drivers crash within their first year of driving.
Alcohol is a factor in one in five road deaths. Drink driving traffic collisions are still a leading cause of alcohol related deaths among young men aged 16-24 and are the cause of approximately 460 deaths, and a further 1,760 serious and 12,260 minor casualties each year.
How your body reacts to alcohol can depend on many things; your weight, your gender, your metabolism, your current stress levels, even whether you’ve eaten recently.
There is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the limit. How much alcohol will push you over varies from person to person.
How does alcohol affect driving skills?
- slows your brain function and reaction times by 10 to 30%
- causes blurring and loss of vital peripheral vision and a 25% reduction in the ability to judge distance and speed
- makes you over-confident and reduces the perception of risk
- for young people the accident risk increases after one drink; after two it doubles and after five it can have increased tenfold
- alcohol has exactly the same effect whether neat or with a mixer
- measures are usually bigger when you pour your drinks at home
The morning after
How much have you drunk, when did you stop drinking, and when do you plan to drive? These are crucial questions to answer if you want to remain safe and legal to drive – and avoid a drink drive conviction or being responsible for the injury or death of another road user. Alcohol stays in your system longer than you think. If in doubt, don’t drive. Even if all of the alcohol has left your system it can still be dangerous to drive with a hangover. Tiredness and feeling unwell can also affect your concentration and reaction times.
What’s the punishment for drink driving?
Anyone caught drink driving will be banned from the road for at least 12 months, and fined up to £5,000. Refusing to provide a breath test will also result in a minimum 12 month ban and a fine.
You can also be sent to prison for up to six months. It stays on your licence for eleven years, but stays on your conscience for ever.
In a crash someone not wearing a seatbelt is more likely to die than
someone using one. Research indicates that approximately one third of
those killed in collisions weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
- Nearly one life every day would be saved if everyone wore their seatbelts.
- In a crash someone not wearing a seatbelt is more likely to die than someone using one.
- One in five young people driven by a young person don’t wear seatbelts.
- People are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys or at low speeds. This puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.
- You are twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt.
Seatbelts also reduce the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.
Seatbelts undoubtedly save lives. Even on the shortest trips, and in cases
of low speed impacts, they ensure as little contact as possible is made
between those in the vehicle and it’s interior. Penalties for non-wearers
range from a £60 ticket to up to £500 if the case goes to court.
Drug driving - the facts
The different ways that drugs can effect a driver's behaviour and body include:
- slower reaction times
- poor concentration
- confused thinking
- distorted perception
You have slow reaction times and struggle to do two tasks at once (like change gear and steer straight). Combining cannabis with alcohol magnifies its effect.
On ecstasy you have blurred vision and can’t judge distance or speed. You might suffer extreme emotions that are lethal behind the wheel, like anxiety and paranoia.
You’ll probably think you’re the best driver on the road – but you are erratic, likely to take risks, may suffer from paranoia, and even hallucinate.
Amphetamines make you overexcited, restless and can lead to risk-taking. You may experience strong emotions like fear, panic and aggression. You may get dizzy or collapse.
You are sluggish, sleepy and unable to control a vehicle.
Remember that although we have concentrated on illegal drugs, any type of over the counter or prescription medicines are drugs. Be aware that if you are taking more than one medication they may have a combination effect.
Please make sure you read the information leaflet with the medicine before driving. If in doubt speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicine or medicines you are taking.