IMAGINE driving along a country road and finding a passenger slumped in the front seat of a smashed car – then you recognise her from the TV.
The scenario is played out in an internet video starring Emmerdale actress and Soapstar Superstar star Hayley Tammadon that aims to show teenagers that nobody is exempt from a fatal car crash.
The “viral” marketing video by Cheshire Safer Roads Partnership (CSRP) has this week been circulated across internet websites like YouTube, Facebook and Bebo to promote the new website R8URM8.com, where teenagers can rate their mate’s driving skills.
iPods and other prizes are on offer for the best rated drivers, while road safety teams hope the stigma of being named and shamed as a dodgy driver will shock others into slowing down.
CSRP manager Lee Murphy said: “We are hoping to encourage young people to think twice before they attempt driving acrobatics.
“It’s not just about them injuring themselves but how they would feel if their driving resulted in their best mate or girlfriend being killed or injured. What would their mates think?”
“Although we used an actress for the video, for 11 young drivers a year in Cheshire, this is real, they don’t wake up.
“New drivers in the UK are involved in 29 of all collisions and one in five new drivers has a collision within the first 12 months of passing their test.
“With statistics like this it is easy to see the gravity of the situation and the need to pro-actively tackle the problem. But at the same we recognise not all young people are going to have a crash.
“We don’t want to demonise the good drivers, we want to offer an incentive to those who keep their licence clean and get safety messages across to everyone.
“The idea behind R8URM8 is to create a forum for young people to talk to their mates about cars, bikes and all things driving-related.
“We want to encourage them to talk freely about their driving experiences and to rate their mates’ driving ability. Those who get a good rating will then be in with a chance of winning a number of prizes.
The family of Tristan Cook, 16, who died with fellow Christleton sixth-former Dominic Arnold in a crash in December 2006, have been consulted for the campaign.
Ex-Emmerdale actress Hayley – best known for playing Delilah Dingle in the ITV soap – filmed the video last Friday on a disused road near Leighton Hospital.
She said: “If we can get the message across to 18 and 19-year-olds through the internet and save one person’s life it will be amazing.”
See the internet viral at www.chesterchronicle.co.uk or www.r8urm8.com