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#Impact continues its tour of the county


A campaign aimed at educating young drivers about road safety is set to continue its tour with visits to Dereham Sixth Form and Thetford Academy this week.

The #Impact campaign was launched by Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green in November 2016 in a bid to highlight the issue.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Thomas Semmons, 19, who will speak to students about his personal experience of being involved in a serious road collision.

Thomas, from Scarning near Dereham, was seriously injured after losing control of his car in bad weather on the B1145 in Norfolk last summer. The car Thomas was driving forms an important part of the #Impact campaign as it tours schools and colleges in the county. During the event each student will be given a pledge card and asked to sign it as a personal commitment to road safety.

And on Wednesday (25 January) Thomas will attend Dereham Sixth Form to spread the message to students, many of whom he knows from his school days at nearby Northgate High School.

“It means a lot to go to a sixth form where I have a lot of friends, as I feel like I can have a positive impact on their lives, and hopefully reduce the risk of them being involved in a serious car crash," said Thomas.

Phyllis O'Grady the Director of Dereham Sixth Form, added: “'We are delighted to welcome Thomas and the #Impact group into college to raise awareness of road safety.

“Teaching this age group, many of whom will be taking driving lessons during their time here and experiencing their first months as young drivers, we are acutely aware of how vulnerable they are, especially in the poor driving conditions at this time of year.

“We would strongly urge all of our students to go and meet Thomas and the team and learn as much as they can about how they can keep themselves and their passengers safe.”

The initiative will move on to Thetford Academy the following day (Thursday 26 January).

The campaign is actively supported by Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the East of England Ambulance Service.

Each event will include:
  • A presentation from Thomas Semmons who survived an RTC and whose car will be on display on the day.
  • A presentation from Norfolk’s Roads Policing Team on the Fatal 4.
  • A practical demonstration of cutting someone out of a wrecked vehicle.
During his election campaign, Lorne made a pledge to tackle road safety, and that pledge has now been built into the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan for the county.

“I take very seriously the pledge I have made to do all I can to prevent young people from being seriously injured or killed on our roads.

“Thomas is a perfect ambassador for the #Impact campaign and I am very happy that he has agreed to continue to share his experience and talk to young people about the dangers of the fatal four, whether it be drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone or excess speeding.”

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “It’s clear to see Thomas’ story strikes a chord with students when he talks about his experience, the injuries he suffered and the impact it had on his family and friends.

“Thomas hadn’t been doing anything wrong when he crashed – he wasn’t speeding, he hadn’t been drinking, it was simply a case of misjudging the poor road conditions resulting in him losing control of his car.

“I’m confident #Impact will continue to live up to its name and leave students with a lasting memory of what can happen when things go wrong."