School pupils were given a lesson in what happens when a car crashes in a bid to discourage them from travelling in speeding vehicles or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
During the hard-hitting demonstration by police and the fire brigade, youngsters from Unity College watched volunteer and music teacher Mr Doug Bugden be cut out of a car. Firefighters smashed the windows and cut off the vehicle’s roof to show the impact of a high speed crash.
The demonstration has been shown to Year 10 and 11 pupils across Burnley since May to highlight road safety.
They have also been shown the wreckage of a car belonging to 18-year-old Matthew Alston who was killed when he crashed his car in Read in August 2010.
Mr Steve Morgan, station manager for Burnley fire station, who has been delivering the project with the police, said: “The main thing for me is to provide these children with enough information so they can make informed choices. You see young people driving round and we want to give them the courage and the conviction to say to anybody ‘slow down, you’re going to hurt us.’
“We’ve had a really good response, it’s been really well received by all the pupils and the headteachers.”
Mr Bugden, who was marking his last day of teaching before his retirement after 37 years, was “trapped”in the car for several minutes and was taken out on a spinal board.
He said: “The whole thing was a traumatic experience. I kept thinking what if it was for real.”
Mrs Alison Hodgson, deputy headteacher at Unity College, said: “We’ve had an extremely positive response, all the students have been talking about it. They have been really moved by Matthew Alston’s car and have asked lots of questions. I think it will make them think twice.”
Matthew Alston, who was from Simonstone, died the morning after a party after crashing his car when he was double the drink drive limit.
He died instantly from multiple injuries after losing control of the vehicle as he drove out of Read towards Whalley. He collided side on with a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.
Since Matthew’s death, his car has been used to warn teenagers of the dangers of driving too fast and under the influence of drugs and alcohol as part of the Wasted Lives campaign.
“It’s a valuable life lesson and hopefully if it manages to save one young person from making the wrong decision then it’s worth it,” added Mrs Hodgson.