Bolton Safety GMFRS

New VR equipment brings home reality of dangerous driving

Greater Manchester’s commitment to safer roads was on full display at Farnworth Fire Station Open Day ahead of National Road Safety Week, with new virtual reality kits offering an insight into the dangers of unsafe driving.

Sunday (14 May) saw Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) run the open day at Farnworth with a focus on road safety, following an increase in collisions in the area. Partners from Greater Manchester Police, St John’s Ambulance and National Highways supported the event to help provide a variety of life saving lessons on road safety and the consequences of dangerous driving.

The day officially launched GMFRS’ new virtual reality (VR) equipment to educate people on road safety. The new kits have access to a variety of themed topics on safety and provide an immersive experience for learning and experiencing the dangers of certain behaviours. 

Ben Norman, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“The new VR equipment we’ve invested in is so impressive, it gives a realistic, immersive experience to someone about the consequences of dangerous driving.

“Today has been a fantastic event to engage local people in key safety messages and bring awareness of the true cost of dangerous driving in terms of the human cost and the cost to the public purse.”

In Greater Manchester 504 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads in 2022, and all emergency services are appealing to the public to take more care on the roads.

Kate Green, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said:

“Safety on our roads is a key priority for our communities and I want them to be reassured that road safety is a priority for all of Greater Manchester’s key travel partners, we’re working together to make Greater Manchester’s roads safer and reduce road deaths.

“Our commitment is shown in the Fire Service investing in equipment like the VR sets and in Police we’ve invested in the recruitment of 60 new officers in the roads policing unit to boost enforcement and engagement. Our new VR equipment is very impressive, this is going to be a vital tool in our prevention work.”

At the open day crews carried out live demonstrations on how to cut people out of vehicles following a road traffic collision. CPR training was provided and the public tried out the VR headsets with a variety of films being shown, some with a focus on experience drivers and some for younger children before they learn to drive.

The event was organised by White Watch at Farnworth Fire Station.

Firefighter Jack McCarthy, based at Farnworth Fire Station, said:

“I’m delighted to see so many people come to our event today. Reducing road traffic collisions is a real priority for us and today has been an excellent chance to meet the local community and share some life saving advice.” 

Greater Manchester’s road safety partners are supporting National Road Safety Week 15 – 21 May 2023 with a variety of events taking place and key messages being shared.

The new virtual reality kit provides an immersive experience of factors that can lead to serious traffic collisions known as the ‘Fatal 4’: speed, distraction, drink and drug driving and seatbelts. 

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Article Published: 16/05/2023 13:20 PM