Delegates at ACFO’s recent conference and AGM were treated to a 90-minute road safety demonstration by Staffordshire-based Crash Course.

Initially set up to address the problem of young drivers dying on the road, the operation has now expanded to take in corporate clients, and came to ACFO’s national event after presenting at the South West and Wales regional meeting late last year, where they received a positive response.

The presentation aims to address “the risks we take as drivers, not even perceiving them to be risks”, said Crash Course manager Ann Morris. Delegates were warned in advance that elements of the presentation could be upsetting, before hearing an account of every element associated with a collision, with contributions from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue’s Stuart Smith, police collision investigation officer Richard Biffin and victim support specialist Colette Bennett. All used graphic examples of the impact incidents have had on the lives of real people, including explicit detailing of the injuries caused by collisions, the process of arrest and prosecution, what happens to the body of someone killed in an accident and the impact on victim’s families. The thinking behind Crash Course is that, rather than just using shock tactics of collision pictures, by accentuating the mental and emotional factors it can be “the missing link” between driver training and changing driver behaviour.

Smith, a fire and rescue office for the past 32 years, said just 1% of the service’s call-outs are related to road traffic accidents, but they account for “10 times the death and injuries of all other incidents put together”. He warned of the number of “forgotten victims” of collisions, because people seriously injured in accidents aren’t normally even reported in the local papers because of the frequency of incidents.

A collision investigator with 20 years experience, Biffin warned of the dangers of corporate manslaughter prosecution, calling for all those present to review their policies for elements including vehicle maintenance, mobile phone use and document checking.

The group’s sobering presentation has been taken up by several UK businesses as part of the training of their drivers, an area Crash Course is looking to expand into. For more information contact Ann Morris on