Fear that recession is causing drivers to risk lives on Calderdale’s roads

West Yorkshire Fire Service's Jemma Thacker and Mick Brennan
West Yorkshire Fire Service's Jemma Thacker and Mick Brennan

The credit crunch is putting people under pressure to take more risks on the roads and with their and other people’s lives.

That is according to road safety campaigners who are organising a day of talks and demonstrations to bring home the reality of accidents and how far-reaching their effects are.

They are inviting everyone to take part but are particularly keen to get through to workers who drive as part of their jobs, such as taxi drivers and delivery drivers.

Mick Brennan, Halifax Fire Station Manager and one of the organisers of the road safety roadshow, fears that the recession has put people under more pressure to rush so they can be more productive by taking risks that could lead to more accidents.

He added all workers are at risk.

“The vast majority of accidents in Calderdale happen in commuter hours and it tends to be people travelling on the feeder roads round the motorway going to and from work.

“And having a mobile phone in the car is five times more distracting than alcohol.

“We want to encourage employers to think about their staff in and out of their building.”

Jemma Thacker, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and also an organiser, said; “It is a well-established fact that drivers at work account for a dispoportionately high percentage of road users killed and seriously injured - West Yorkshire is no different.”

Last year there were 7,785 people killed or seriously inured on West Yorkshire’s roads.

Of those, 645 were involved in accidents in Calderdale.

“Nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by a road accident,” said Station Manager Brennan, who has been a firefighter for 31 years.

“With this roadshow, we want to prevent an accident from happening rather than respond after it has happened.”

The road safety roadshow is free, open to everyone and takes place at The Victoria Theatre in Halifax on Thursday, November 22 from 10am until noon.

It will include personal testimonies from a firefighter, paramedic, police officer, bereaved parent and life-long injured accident victim to bring home the reality of accidents and how many people they can affect.

Organisers are hoping the event will bring road safety to the forefront of people’s minds and prevent accidents happening across Calderdale.

Firms and organisations already on board include ASDA, Firest Group, Royal Mail, TJ Walsh, various local taxi firms, Halifax Rugby League, Halifax Town, Calderdale College, Rastrick High School and Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

Companies who would like to send staff to attend the roadshow or anyone else who would like to go should contact Jemma Thacker at jemma.thacker@westyorksfire.gov.uk. They can also call here on 01422 386835 for more information.