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7 May 2008
Following the Department of Transport’s announcement today (7 May) of a major review of driver training and testing, the British Red Cross is calling on the government to include more first aid learning as part of the driving test.
Specifically, we would like to see the new syllabus include basic first aid skills that drivers would need to help someone injured in a road traffic collision.
Young drivers are disproportionately involved in road collisions in the UK. One-in-four drivers who die on our roads are under the age of 25. The Red Cross wants to see more first aid learning within the driving test, focussing on the key skills that could save lives for the injuries typically resulting from road traffic collisions. In particular, airway management, blood loss, unconsciousness and shock.
The new syllabus should also include managing the scene of the collision, to ensure that further vehicles do not become involved. Accident simulation training is currently being developed as part of the commercial driving license and the British Red Cross has developed a similar product previously.
Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at the British Red Cross, said: “We warmly welcome the Government’s focus today on encouraging safe and responsible driving. Increasing the amount of first aid in the driving test fits right at the heart of that agenda.”
Mulligan added: “It’s most likely that the first person on the scene of an collision will be another road user. In the first few minutes, before the emergency services arrive, there’s simple yet vital help people can give. Greater knowledge of first aid amongst drivers can make an important contribution to reducing injury and deaths on our roads.”
Iain Ferguson, of Bellshill, Scotland, attended to a seriously injured child at a road traffic collision just five minutes after completing a Red Cross first aid course.
A young boy had been hit by a car and was lying seriously injured in the middle of the road. Besides being in shock, the boy was bleeding heavily from a head wound and had suffered a broken leg.
Iain stemmed the bleeding and supported the boy’s broken leg, keeping control of the situation for 15 minutes until the paramedics arrived.
Iain said: “If there was ever proof of the importance of knowing first aid, this is it. As a father myself, I would hope that someone would be able to help my child if she ever needed first aid.”
The British Red Cross has worked with the Department of Transport and Driving Standards Agency on first aid and road safety over the last three years, to improve and increase the amount of first aid learning in the driving test. In March this year, the driving theory test was expanded and additional questions on first aid were included within the test.