Campaign activity peaks on Valentine Day
Around 300,000 road safety Valentine cards will have been distributed to young drivers in various parts of England in the run up to 14 February.
The latest phase of the For my girlfriend campaign features a Valentine card in a sealed envelope with the words 'For my Valentine' apparently handwritten on it. The card carries the same message on the front but inside the message is: 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to kill you. I was driving too fast.' The text is accompanied by a picture of a crashed car.
The card is being distributed with the help of sixth form centres, colleges and universities, nightclubs and pubs, leisure centres and major employers - places where young people are likely to be found in significant numbers.
In addition, the London Safety Camera Partnership has purchased a mailing list and distributed 50,000 of the cards direct to young drivers at their homes. The campaign in the capital is supplemented by radio advertising on leading stations and a series of events in London boroughs in the run up to 14 February.
The London campaign is also supported by bereaved parent Giulietta Galli-Atkinson, whose 16 year old daughter was killed in a road collision in 1998. "Campaigns such as this, warning young drivers about the dangers of speeding, are vital in helping to reduce the number of young lives devastated or lost on our roads," Mrs Galli-Atkinson said.
50,000 of the cards have been distributed across Kent and Medway and Sussex by the local camera partnerships. In Kent and Medway the campaign also includes a series of theatre in education performances targeting young drivers in secondary schools from 21 February - 4 March.
"This is the first year the Valentine card has been used in Sussex and it has already raised a few eyebrows," said Emma Rogers, communications manager for the Sussex Safety Camera Partnership. "We recognise the card is powerful and it may upset some people, but it has been tested amongst the target age group and while they don't like it, they admitted it made them stop and think.
Bracknell Forest Council held a 'For my girlfriend' event, comprising a mock traffic accident, at Bracknell & Wokingham College on 10 February. "It was a very successful day and the students were very attentive to what was going on," said the College's Nigel Pumffrey. "We have produced our own poster (see below) which we will be placing around the college to enforce the message."
Nearly seven out of 10 injury road accidents in Bracknell involve a driver aged 30 or under. "We are trying to get across the message that young drivers are not invincible," said road safety officer Chris Pickett. "We don't want to put an old head on young shoulders but this age group does have very high accident statistics.
5,000 Valentine cards are being distributed across Bracknell with the help of educational establishments, pubs and leisure complexes.
In Buckinghamshire, Rodney Royston, portfolio holder for planning and transportation said: " This is a tough audience to influence and it is important to produce material that has an effect."
In Milton Keynes, in addition to the direct mail card campaign, a crashed car reconstruction will be held in the city centre on Valentines Day, during which journalists will be invited to experience being cut out of the vehicle by the fire service and treated by paramedics.
The City of York Council campaign includes magazine adverts and drink mats (opposite) in addition to the Valentine card. "More young women are killed as passengers than as drivers - all too often they are thrown out of the vehicle on impact because they are not wearing a seat belt," said Pete Zanzottera City of York's road safety officer. "There are two clear messages: wear a seatbelt in the back of a car - and if you think that the driver is taking too many risks, say something."
There will be more reports and pictures and pictures from around the country next week. For further information about the campaign log on to