Funding cuts are threatening a key tool in the fight to cut the number of young drivers killed or maimed on Fife’s roads.
Organisers of the hard-hitting Safe Drive Stay Alive roadshows have revealed they desperately need more sponsors to keep hammering home the reality of road crashes.
Aimed at fourth year pupils preparing to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time, the annual 90-minute show graphically demonstrates the consequences of not being in proper control of a vehicle.
During a video reconstruction of a real road accident, the emergency services talk about their roles following a collision and bereaved families often give heart-wrenching first-hand accounts of the effect a fatal crash has had on their lives.
Now in its 15th year in Fife, the roadshows are sponsored by three local firms.
But speaking at a meeting of Fife Council’s Levenmouth area committee, safer communities co-ordinator Liz Watson said: “We could do with more funding.
“We have three main sponsors, Diageo, FMC and ExxonMobil, but funding is getting cut year on year.”
She added: “This particular campaign does reach a lot of young people and is extremely important. We would like to see it continue.”
Ms Watson said each roadshow costs £30,000 to stage but is considered to be well worth the money.
“We speak to 3,000 school children annually and this year’s campaign was to do with the use of mobile phones while driving and how horrific it can be.
“The £30,000 cost includes buses to pick children up and take them back to school.
“When you think one fatal accident costs over £1 million there’s really no comparison – spending £30,000 could save goodness knows how many lives.”
SNP councillor John O’Brien said finding additional funding should be a top priority.
“I’m really surprised to hear you need funding to keep this on the road,” he said.
Last year saw an increase in casualties on Fife’s roads.
There were 451 collisions, resulting in 607 casualties, 10 of which were fatal, 87 serious and 510 in which people suffered slight injuries.
This was more than the 426 crashes in 2015.
In 2009, the Scottish Government set road casualty reduction targets which all Scottish local authorities must meet by 2020 and Fife Council is on course to meet them.