With a shocking 122 people injured as the result of a drink-driver last year, one KLC client is taking matters into their own hands.
The Benson School of Motoring, based in Braintree, Essex, but with instructors in surrounding counties, owns the only mobile car-based driving simulator of its type in the world.
The life-like system allows you to drive through a series of on-screen scenarios from within a real car, using actual gears, pedals, steering wheel, indicators and mirrors.
If the “driver” makes a mistake, the car will shudder, stall or crash, giving a frighteningly realistic driving experience.
The XPI Simulation programme even allows the instructor to tap in details of an imaginary alcohol consumption for the driver, resulting in an example of the affect it would have on their driving – including weaving across the road and delayed reactions.
Benson School of Motoring instructor Steve Hicks, who is also a Witham Town councillor, travels all over the UK with the simulator to help children, nervous learners and experienced drivers gain a better understanding of the roads and its dangers. The simulator has even been taken to Sweden at the request of the Swedish Board of Tourism.
He said: “The simulator is used in all sorts of scenarios. Companies whose employees drive company cars use the simulator and get me to give a report back on their driving, nervous drivers use it to get a feel for a car and the roads before having the confidence to drive for real and parents often book the simulator for their child’s birthday and before they reach 17 to get them prepared for what’s to come.
“We also do a lot of road safety days. The emergency services use the simulator as a way of showing people how to drive properly. In Cambridge last year, we joined the police at 11pm in urging clubbers to drive the simulator after inputting their actual alcohol consumption that night to get them to think twice before getting in their own cars and driving home. They were surprised at the affect it had on their driving.”
Drink-driving affects everyone in society and in 2010, a drink-driver who crashed into Mr Hicks’ car while collecting her children from school was suspended from driving, fined and had points placed on her licence.
The Benson School of Motoring is keen to prevent this type of incident happening.
And with a total of 50 drivers caught drink-driving during the 2010 festive season aged under 25, it is vital lessons are learnt as early as possible.
Mr Hicks said: “We have run several awareness days with students, including those at Maltings Academy, in Witham, Braintree College and many other schools.”
To book your sessions in the Benson School of Motoring driving simulator, or for car or motorbike lessons, call 0800 019 0800.