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Plymouth Herald

 

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Our blue light services deal with trauma every day, so who is there for them?

 

By WMNHFinch  |  Posted: December 23, 2016  

M5PileUp 

The M5 tragedy cost seven lives and affected countless others Our blue light services deal with trauma everyday, so who is there for them?X

Every day our emergency services are called to help in some of the most traumatic events we will ever face. But who is there for them? Hannah Finch talks to trauma specialist Rosemary Pell about her work helping people rebuild their lives in the most tragic of circumstances.

 
The 2011 M5 pile-up involving 34
vehicles remains one of the UK's worst road traffic disasters. Seven people were killed that day, 51 others injured and countless lives destroyed by the loss. It was devastating for survivors and witnesses and never became 'just another day' for the emergency services who were tasked to help in the moment of crisis. 

Rosemay Pell, a counsellor in Exeter and founder of Road User Support Service, was called upon in the days that followed to debrief the paramedics and ambulance staff that were called to the devastating scene. She was there to tell them that the flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of anger or disbelief that they were or could be experiencing were entirely normal.

She explained: "For the paramedics, as with everyone, their experiences are individual. There were some who attended that day who have been in the job a long time and they felt able to deal with what they had seen but there were others who had not been with the service for so long.

"They were confronted with a terrible scene, of injured people, dead bodies and a mass of vehicles.

"My work has been to help them come to terms with what they have had to deal with and to make sure they are safe in their work. Even the smell of burning or the sight of a collision can trigger the memory."

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276351/binaries/Pell2.jpg

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    Copy link to paste in your messageRosemary Pell has helped thousands deal with the aftermath of road trauma 

      

    Rosemary has gone on to work with members of Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service and Devon & Cornwall Police. She said that a challenge for those in the emergency services is finding an outlet to talk about the situations they are confronted with at the end of a 999 call. But for reasons of confidentiality or choice, it is not so easy to respond honestly when they get home and asked, 'So, how was your day?' 

    Rosemary said: "Inside that uniform is a human being with a range of emotions. “These are people who have empathy and have chosen to help people in their profession, and they are presented with many distressing incidents on a daily basis."

     

     Read more at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/who-s-there-for-the-emergency-services-at-christmas/story-29989065-detail/story.html#g95g4GqpR33HepbW.99

     

     

     

    DVLA Statistics 

     

    DVLA statistics for the past 12 months have revealed that young drivers are amongst the least likely to be convicted of a speeding office in the UK.

     

    Only 7.69% of all speeding offences were committed by 17-24 year old drivers accounting for 2.14% of all drivers in that age group.  Whereas drivers aged between 25-34 were found to be the most likely to speed on the motorway.  Drivers aged between 45-54 clocked up the highest number of speeding offences.

     

      

    Call for the return of the Tax Disc?

    1st October marked the second anniversary of the loss of the tax disc. The move was meant to save the DVLA £10 million a year but instead revenue from vehicle excise duty is reported to have fallen by some £93 million.


    In a research study conducted by uSwitch, three quarters of the six thousand respondents called for the tax disc to be brought back!


    The DVLA has confirmed that almost 99 per cent of all vehicles on the road are correctly taxed – that’s around £6 billion in vehicle tax passed to the Treasury every year. They write to every registered vehicle keeper in the UK to remind them when their tax is due and rely therefore on drivers telling them when they move house. The new system also means that you can pay in monthly instalments instead of one sum.


    However some are asking if the loss of the tax disc is encouraging more motorists to evade the tax?


    Kasey Cassells, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, said:


    "A gap has clearly been left by the paper disc, but the move towards modernisation doesn’t go far enough. Despite receiving reminders by post, motorists with the best intentions are getting caught out by forgetting their renewal date. The DVLA should consider more relevant notifications, like text alerts which have proved successful for the NHS."


    (Excerpt from Traffic Safety Roads Graham Feest Consultancy)

     

     

    EATING AT THE WHEEL  

     

      

    A new survey by Brake and Direct Line has found a third of drivers questioned sometimes eat food whilst driving. Just over a quarter of people (27%) have unwrapped and eaten the food and a third (33%) admit to eating food someone else has unwrapped for them. Drivers between 25-34 are the worst offenders. 55% in this age range admitting they have unwrapped and eaten whilst driving with just under a third admitting doing so at least once a week.

     

    Research shows that drivers who eat and drink at the wheel are twice as likely to crash and this risk may be even higher if the food is hot, messy or you have to unwrap yourself. Whilst not against the law to eat while driving you do run the risk of prosecution for driving without due care and attention or careless driving the maximum penalty of which is disqualification.

     

    The survey is available by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

     

     (Excerpt from Traffic Safety Roads Graham Feest Consultancy)

     

     

    FILMING BAD DRIVER BEHAVIOUR 

     

      

    Police have stopped almost 2,700 drivers for unsafe driving over the past 16 months with the help of a HGV cab that allows officers to film from an elevated position. The cab has been loaned by Highways England to police forces across England, with footage recently released by Cheshire Police, showing a driver on the M6 using two phones at the same time, with one phone to his ear in his left hand while he texted on another phone in his right hand.

     

     

    The elevated position of the cab allows police officers to film unsafe driving behaviour. Drivers are then pulled over by police cars following behind

     

     

    Since the safety scheme began in April 2015, 3,494 offences have been spotted. Nearly half related to the unsafe use of mobile phones, and over a fifth involved drivers not wearing seatbelts.

     

     

    A total of 25 police forces took part in the HGV safety cab initiative during its first 16 months. Officers gave verbal advice to 247 drivers, issued 693 fixed or graduated penalty notices, and filed 2,186 traffic offence reports – usually requiring drivers to attend a driver education course. There were also 34 prosecutions for more serious offences.

     

     

     

    Reasons for stopping drivers included:

     

     

     

    Using mobile phones – 1,663

    Not wearing seatbelts – 749

    Not in proper control of vehicles – 173

    Speeding – 160

    Driving under influence of drink or drugs - 7 

     

     

     

    (Excerpt from Traffic Safety Roads Graham Feest Consultancy)

     

     

    Grieving Husband calls for Compulsory Cycle Helmets 

     

    A 41 year old mother-of-two died following a bicycle crash moments after she took a smiling selfie.

     

    Carmen Greenway, a graphic designer, was cycling home after having dinner at a pub to celebrate her mother’s birthday when she hit a bump and lost control.

     

    She was not wearing a helmet and fractured her skull and died six days later.

     

    Her husband, Rufus Greenway, 47, said his wife – who’d had a celebratory drink – was not taking selfies at the time of the crash but called for wearing helmets to be made compulsory.

      

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    Sleep Apnoea

     

    Fatigue resulting in people driving whilst tired and falling asleep at the wheel is in its own way nothing new but is certainly something which receives greater attention the used to be the case.  Whilst a great deal of fatigue is self-induced, brought about be sheer exhaustion or burning the candle at both ends so to speak, the prevalence of a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is being more regularly diagnosed. However there is a great need for people to understand about this condition and know that is can be treated and controlled.

     

    Eight out of ten businesses that run vehicle fleets say they would benefit from greater awareness of obstruction sleep apnoea sydndrome (ASOS), a condition that affects about 10% of the driving population.

     

    Studies show that a driver with ASOS could be up to nine times more likely to crash.

     

    (Excerpt from Traffic Safety Roads Graham Feest Consultancy)

     

     

    Prescription Medicines

     

    From March 2015 it will be illegal in England and Wales to drive with certain illegal drugs in the blood, even if you are not unfit to drive.

     

    It will also be illegal to drive with certain levels of certain legal drugs if you are unfit to drive.

     

    The advice is to talk to your doctor about whether you should drive if you have been prescribed any of the following drugs: 

     

    - clonazepam

    - diazapam

    - flunitrazepam

    - lorazepam

    - methadone

    - morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs

    - oxazepam

    - temazepam

     

    You can drive after taking these drugs if:

     

    - you have been prescribed them and advised how to take them by a healthcare professional

    - they are not causing you to be unfit to drive

     

    You could be prosecuted if you drive with certain levels of these drugs in your body and you have not been prescribed them.

     

    Penalties for Drug Driving

     

    If you are convicted of drug driving you will get:

     

    - a minimum 1 year driving ban

    - a fine of up to £5,000

    - up to a year in prison

    - a criminal record

     

    Your driving licence will show that you have been convicted of Drug Driving for 11 years.  14 years if death is caused by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs.

     

    Other probelms you could face

     

    - Your car insurance costs will increase significantly

     - If you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence

     - You may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA

                                                                (Excerpt from AIRSO publication 2015) 

     

       

    "The Honest Truth"

     

    This project (The Honest Truth) provides a resource pack for driving instructors, including a video, teaching cars, letter templates and leaflets helping instructors to deliver safer driving messages to their students and students' parents. 

     

    Approximately every 18 hours a young person is killed on UK roads, while every 90 minutes a young person suffers a serious injury.

     

    Over 300 driving instructors across Devon and Cornwall are already associates of The Honest Truth.  It's free for instructors to join and the first of it's kind in the country.

     

    visit thehonesttruth.co.uk

    email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

    call 01626 215894

     

     

    Online Driving Instructor Directory

     

    A free online directory, launched by the  Driving Standards Agency, is to make it easier for learner drivers to find qualified instructors in their area.  Fully-qualified driving instructors can sign up to be listed on the 'Find your nearest driving instructors' directory.

     

    Learners can search by postcode and will be able to see if instructors have signed up to the voluntary code of practice and are committed to continuing their personal development.

     

      


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