Norfolk trials virtual reality goggles to educate about road safety

Virtual reality goggles are being trialled in Norfolk
Virtual reality goggles are being trialled in Norfolk
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Virtual reality goggles are being trialled in Norfolk in a bid to educate young people about road safety.

The headsets are set to be piloted at the Royal Norfolk Show this week as part of Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green’s #Impact initiative.

More than a dozen of the Samsung Gear VR goggles are being introduced in partnership with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS).

They take the user through a 360 degree simulated car crash experience, highlighting the results of being distracted at the wheel while using a mobile phone.

Mr Green, who made a pledge to tackle road safety during his election campaign, said: “I take very seriously the commitment I have made to do all I can to prevent young people from being seriously injured or killed on our roads.

“#Impact has toured schools the length and breadth of the county educating over 2,000 students to date 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.

“It is crucial, however, we come up with innovative ideas in which to engage with young people.

“While a difficult watch, we hope the trial of the headsets and accompanying film will help young drivers think twice about driving inappropriately when they get behind the wheel.”

The film and VR sets are already used by both Leicestershire Fire Service and Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, who will be lending their support at the show.

Garry Collins, head of prevention and protection at NFRS, said: “The goggles will give young people the opportunity to experience a crash simulation in a safe and secure environment.

“We hope the trial will help promote a better understanding of ‘crash consequences’ for both drivers and passengers using Norfolk’s roads and in some cases, lead to positive changes in behaviour.”

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of Norfolk Police’s roads policing unit, said: “This is an excellent initiative which shows drivers the consequences of not giving the road the full attention it deserves.

“The Norfolk Show is the perfect place to debut these goggles where roads policing will also be in attendance. If you have any questions about road safety please come and see us in the Emergency Services Village.”

Mr Greene launched the #Impact campaign in November last year to highlight the issue of road safety among young people.

The initiative continues to be spearheaded by Thomas Semmons, 19, who speaks to students about his personal experience of being involved in a serious crash last summer when he lost control of his car in bad weather on the B1145 in Norfolk.