MORE than 300 driving instructors around Devon and Cornwall are to receive new teaching resources from a pioneering road safety campaign.
The Honest Truth Partnership is based in South Devon but is already working throughout the South West - and with national ambition – bringing together the Fire Service, Police, County and District Councils, local Community Safety Partnership and driving instructors.
It is believed to be the first time the public sector has worked directly with driving instructors to reach learners and parents with safer driving messages.
Instructors have free resources and seats on the Board of the partnership.
The Honest Truth – a short film produced by Teignbridge District Council alongside The Honest Truth Partnership and Eve Atkinson, whose brother Tom sadly died in a car crash in May 2008.
With 312 instructors already signed up to an earlier version of the campaign, hopes are high that even more will come on board following a major overhaul of the project.
Being launched this week with events in Exeter and Bodmin, the new resources for instructors include an information booklet, website, in-car ‘Message of the Day’ prompt cards, leaflets for students and parents, and sets of posters.
Together these are designed to tell students ‘The Honest Truth’ about safer driving, encouraging them to make small changes to their habits to help save lives.
The campaign has been developed alongside instructors and young drivers, and features animal-human hybrids representing eight issues which contribute to serious or fatal crashes and their consequences.
These are speed, drink, drugs, seatbelts, mobile phones, distractions, showing off and improper insurance.
Each animal is linked to the topic - for example a cheetah for ‘speed’ - with students asked ‘Which one are you?’
Each topic is supported with statistics, real life stories and key messages as part of the Instructor’s Resource Pack, helping driving instructors teach their students how to reduce their risk of accidents on the road.
Click the highlighted names below to hear interviews with the people behind The Honest Truth
Sergeant Olly Tayler from Devon and Cornwall Police is the current Chair of The Honest Truth Partnership. He said: "We are incredibly excited to be extending The Honest Truth campaign. We’ve been working together on a brand new look and resources which instructors have told us they would like.
“Small changes really do save lives, and it’s that message that is at the heart of The Honest Truth. You never forget the sights, sounds and smells of a major crash, and telling a parent that their child has died is the most heart-wrenching thing you can do. Together we want to make sure that our learner drivers and their parents truly understand the risks, and hopefully we’ll reduce the number of accidents involving young people on our roads."
The founding partners of the project are Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon County Council, Teignbridge District Council (as part of the South Devon and Dartmoor Community Safety Partnership), Locke’s School of Motoring and Peppers School of Motoring. The new look has been designed by Teignbridge District Council.
All sides agree that the partnership nature of the scheme has been a big benefit, with organisations working together towards a common goal of saving lives and making the area safer.
Jenny Connor from Peppers School of Motoring is a member of The Honest Truth Board.
She said: "The Honest Truth is a true partnership which has given driving instructors seats at the top table. We’ve worked closely with the authorities, instructors and young people to develop our new resources, and I truly believe they’ll be a huge help to our members.
“We’d like all driving instructors to show their support and sign-up to The Honest Truth. It’s free to join, and thanks to support from the authorities the resources are also free for instructors in Devon and Cornwall.”
Interest in The Honest Truth has been steadily growing since its launch with a single leaflet in November 2009.
With its new products it is planned to share the project with other areas, and thorough evaluation in partnership with the University of Plymouth has proven how effective it is.
The newly-produced report shows that students studying with instructors who use The Honest Truth material are three times more likely to change their driving habits than those who have not seen the campaign.
Its reputation has now attracted interest from a variety of instructors, driving schools and authorities in Somerset, Hertfordshire, Kent and Dorset.
Becca Gordon from Teignbridge District Council is Vice-Chair of The Honest Truth Partnership.
She said: "We have an infectious passion for this project which has really turned people on to it and helped get others on board.
"It’s been a labour of love for the Board, and we’re really encouraged with the support and interest it has generated.
"Our next step is to seek out major sponsorship and take the project to new heights. We’ve got a lot of ideas for more products to help driving instructors, and hopefully we’ll soon have the means to develop them.”
The Honest Truth is unveiling its new resources to instructors at events this week.
For Devon-based instructors the event is at Police Headquarters at Middlemoor, Exeter, on Tuesday, July 3 from 7pm – 9pm. In Cornwall it will be at Bodmin Police Hub on Thursday, July 5 from 7pm – 9pm.
Any driving instructors who would like to come and find out more can contact Chantel Hobley on 01626 215894 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register on a first-come, first-served basis.
Any instructors who can’t make the events can find out more and sign-up to The Honest Truth online at www.thehonesttruth.co.uk or www.facebook.com/thehonesttruthUK. Instructors who have previously signed-up to the campaign and can’t make the events will be posted their Resource Pack soon.