A passion for road safety
Losing someone close to you in a road crash you can have a profound affect throughout your life. Here Milly Fyfe (nee Wastie) tells us how her experience of losing a close friend in her late teens inspired her to become a road safety advocate and campaign for the introduction of the graduated driving licence to save young driver's lives.
Attending a funeral of someone the same age as you always sends shivers down your spine. A life taken before they had the chance to make their mark in the world – what a waste.
In this case, my friend was 17 and so was I. And whilst this was nearly 15 years ago that Tom lost his life in a road traffic accident, the feelings are very much still real for me. I wasn't particularly close to him but it was the first time that I had felt a real loss and the realisation that life can be taken so quickly.
As I continued my own journey through life it became apparent that there were numerous tragedies occurring on the roads and I wasn't alone in my experiences. Being brought up in an isolated rural area meant that communities were close. Whilst they were great at coming together and comforting one another when there was a loss, nothing was being done to instigate change and prevent the very problem from happening.
During my time within the young farmers movement I regularly heard of young people having serious accidents, some ending up with life limiting injuries and some much worse than that. I know that this problem wasn't just affecting a few individuals. When I looked into it more it was staggering to find out that road traffic accidents are the biggest killers in 17-24 year olds.
I was fortunate to reach the dizzy heights of National Chairman for the federation of Young Farmers Clubs in 2012. During this time, I wanted to use my position to instigate change within the movement and help to save lives so I set about a rural road safety campaign which later became known as 'Drive it Home'.
Working with various road safety stakeholder groups helped to shape the campaign. With sponsorship from NFU Mutual a rural insurer, analytical support from Road safety analysis, practical support from Drive Doctors and resource support from Brake, my mission was underway.
Throughout my tenure, young farmers members engaged in skid pan training, attended the Brake 2young2die courses, took part in surveys, booked presentations with local road safety partnerships and helped to change attitudes with peer to peer information exchanges.
Thankfully the campaign struck a chord with the regional and national media which catapulted the 'Drive it Home' name in front of politicians who sat up and took notice. I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to meet with the department for transport and discuss the need for graduated driving licences.
Us road safety advocates are still banging our heads in dismay as to why the graduated driving licence scheme continues to be shelved or put on the back burner. Evidence from other countries operating the system clearly display that serious injuries and deaths on the road are dramatically reduced which can only be a positive.
Having retired as NFYFC Chairman I have left a legacy that road safety remains an important focus for young farmers members between the ages of 10 and 26. I continue to champion the cause, supporting Brake the road safety charity and make a difference.
Improving road safety is a passion of mine and it pains me to see more needless deaths occur on the road each day. I hope you enjoy reading my blog whilst I share my experiences with you. I hope I can continue to inspire others, provide hope, challenge the norm and instigate change.
Hi Road safety is something that we must all keep harping on about, hoping that some will stick, especially towards the young drivers, there the ones that i still see doing stupid reckless things. thanks eric roberts http://www.pellonautocentre.com/our-blog/