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Devon and Cornwall learner-drivers to be taught the Honest Truth

By This is SouthDevon  |  Posted: July 03, 2012

  • The Honest Truth

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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.

Related content

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.”

More interviews

Phil Martin, Area Manager, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge District Council

Supt. Jim Nye, South Devon Police Commander

Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and


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 info@thehonesttruth.co.uk 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.

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  • imalady  |  July 04 2012, 6:48AM

    Two other groups who work tirelessly to improve road safety are Roadpeace & Brake Look them up too.

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  • imalady  |  July 04 2012, 6:46AM

    Two other sites for anyone interested in this issue are http://tinyurl.com/d8m7fr4 and http://tinyurl.com/cz59yuj who work tirelessly to improve road safety.

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  • imalady  |  July 04 2012, 6:39AM

    Rather like the education in our schools Young people are taught to 'pass tests' they arent taught to read write or even drive properly. And unfortunately as regular drivers we all pick up bad habits. The only way if to be re-examined. There are laws for the road so how come some drivers stick to them whilst others think they can drive as they please without any regard to anyone else using them. We need more police to catch these mobile users, these speeders, these show offs. But who is willing to pay for them? We complain about our council tax already so....

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  • Hearald  |  July 03 2012, 11:13PM

    All drivers should watch some of the very graphic and gory videos on the internet of bits of body and people screaming or dead after car crashes, I think that would have more of affect than the same old boring talks and leaflets

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  • TheodoreV  |  July 03 2012, 4:28PM

    As with everything humans do, driving is made up of three attributes: knowledge, attitudes and skills. Unfortunately the driving test, whilst attempting to test driving knowledge and skills, has paid insufficient attention to inculcating the right driving attitudes. When skills are over-estimated by the inexperienced driver, inappropriate speed, which is everywhere promoted by manufacturers and media, becomes a fatal cocktail. As a society we need to de-mythologise the concept of going ever faster. Drivers and particularly inexperienced ones, need to SLOW DOWN!

    |   6
  • CornishPirate  |  July 03 2012, 3:10PM

    @paulmh66 - I don't think it's illegal... after all you're still allowed to drive if you're deaf. So it can't be illegal to have music playing in your ears surely?

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  • josdave  |  July 03 2012, 2:40PM

    What they really need to instil in the learner drivers is just how deadly a ton of metal travelling at speed is. I personally witnessed an incident where a gentleman was knocked down by a car travelling at only15mph (witnessed by the car behind) and died from his injuries. Young drivers in particular seem to regard themselves as immortal when behind the wheel and the more people there are in the car the more reckless the driving is. As a biker who always drives defensively, one reason for still being on the road after 50 years on a bike, I have to say it is a good way to drive. Always look out for the unexpected and when in the country always expect to find something very slow, tractor or animals, around the next corner and you will make fewer emergency stops.

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  • BS_Hater  |  July 02 2012, 7:34PM

    Dear Eve, I watched you speak about your brother Tom with such affection, love and terrible sadness. Honestly it made me cry, which is something I have not done for many many years. Nothing can take away the pain and sense of loss as you already know. Remember everything about him, remember his face, his laugh and his smile and go out there and live his life for him, for everything he was and is to you.

    |   4
  • paulmh66  |  July 02 2012, 5:56PM

    Well this needs to be taught to some professional drivers, particularly the City bus driver who I repeatedly see running a red light on a daily basis while wearing an iPod. Didn't think it was legal to block your hearing while driving, let alone with a bus full of passengers.

    |   11
  • DevonMal  |  July 02 2012, 5:32PM

    Some of them need to obey the law first. A driving instructor car overtook me on the A38 sometime ago and I was doing 70! And one blonde lady driving an instructor car in Ivybridge passed me eating a banana! The youngsters have no chance...

    |   7