Crash simulator to help young drivers stay safe

29 September 2015

A crash simulator designed to teach young drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted is being developed thanks to Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership and Toyota Manufacturing (UK) Ltd.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is being given £25,000 by the partnership to develop the simulator and fit it into a Toyota Auris Sports Touring vehicle kindly donated by the Derbyshire-based manufacturer.

The car will be fitted with audio-visual equipment to give users a realistic in-car experience. Once inside, they’ll be asked to spot hazards on their simulated journey at the same time as sending text messages on a mobile phone. Once they’ve failed to spot several hazards, the car will simulate a crash releasing by releasing its airbags, locking the seatbelts and releasing artificial smoke.

The car will also be fitted with hydraulic motors so the fire service can perform a stimulated rescue without cutting into the bodywork. The technology allows the car’s roof and sides to be moved then fitted back into place afterwards.

The new car will combine the best features from the fire service’s existing road safety vehicles:

  • the Transformer car, which is used to teach firefighters how to rescue crash victims; and
  • the SES (Safety Engineering Simulator) car, which can be used to demonstrate how safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts, protect people during crashes

Partnership chairman Mike Ashworth said:

“This is an exciting project. The simulator, which will visit sixth forms and colleges across the county, should help us to reduce road deaths and injuries by teaching young people about the dangers of driving while distracted.

“We’re grateful to Toyota Manufacturing (UK) Ltd for supporting this project and helping us to make Derbyshire’s roads safer.”

Station manager Wayne Brooks oversees the fire service’s road safety initiatives. He said:

“The award of this funding from the partnership is fantastic news for road safety.

“We work hard to reduce the number of road traffic collisions we attend and, by adding another specialist vehicle to our current fleet of training and demonstration vehicles, we are confident we will be able to further reduce the number of preventable injuries on Derbyshire’s roads.

“It is an exciting time as we move into the development stage of this project and I look forward to being able to unveil the vehicle and all of its features, at a future date.”