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Published: 10 November 2009 Road safety partners have been reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries to young people on Kent's roads and have now launched a major campaign to reduce the number even further.

Young people in Kent, who drive too fast or choose not to wear seat belts, are being targeted in a hard-hitting campaign which aims to shock them into realising the terrible consequences of fatal and serious road crashes.

The campaign, created by Kent Highway Services and Kent & Medway Safety Camera Partnership, is aimed at young drivers and pulls no punches in delivering the warnings that excessive speed kills and that, by not wearing a seat belt, the consequences for drivers and passengers in any crash can be devastating.

This age group is notoriously hard to reach. The “BELT up. SLOW down.” campaign team is touring the county’s pubs, bars and clubs and is coming to Canterbury on Wednesday 25th and also Friday 27 November.

They will engage with young people in Canterbury by handing out promotional items and offering advice. On 25 November the campaign team is at the University of Kent Student’s Union (The Venue) and two days later will be meeting revellers at The Thomas Ingoldsby, The Loft and Chill in the city centre.

In addition to this, the campaign utilises various tools such as radio, quirky giveaways, Bluetooth marketing, social networking sites and posters which carry chilling images of the faces of drivers and their passengers, accompanied by the questions “Who will you take with you?” and “Who will you leave behind?”.

Nick Chard, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, says: “The 17 to 24 age group is a priority and at the heart of this campaign are messages that young people will relate to and that will help promote a change in their driving behaviour. We want young people to consider how they would feel if they were involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured, perhaps a friend, relative or even themselves.

“By taking the campaign into pubs, bars and clubs on busy nights we aim to capture the attention of young people. The images on our display panels will make people think about the dangers of speeding and the horrific consequences of crashes. Just think that a simple one-off decision at the start of every journey, to put on a seat belt, could mean the difference between life and death in a crash. Belt up and then forget about it – how simple can that be?”

K&MSCP Communications Officer, Sarah Temlett, says: “Our aim is to engage with large numbers of young people in pubs and bars in a relaxed and informal way, while getting our message across. We will hand out branded giveaways and encourage people to take the ‘BELT up. SLOW down.’ message away with them and talk to their friends about it too.”

More details about the campaign are available at www.thinksmartdrivesafe.co.uk. The site includes driver safety information and a list of event dates and venues, as well as a link to a Facebook group, where drivers can get more involved with the campaign, take part in a quiz and talk about their own experiences. The campaign is supported by radio and pub washroom advertising across Kent.

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