Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are currently piloting a new road safety initiative using the latest virtual reality (VR) headsets designed to connect with and educate young drivers before they get behind the wheel of a car.
The VR headsets involve a 360° road safety film about being distracted at the wheel while using a mobile phone. The intention is to improve road safety for everyone and reduce vehicle collisions for young drivers.
The film for the headsets was produced and shared by Leicestershire Fire Service nationally. They enable wearers to experience realistic situations inside virtual, but convincing surroundings.
Watch Manager, Dan Searle who works in Community Road Safety for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We want to reach as many young drivers as possible and coming up with innovative ideas to effectively engage with local communities is always a challenge for fire and rescue services. The VR headsets encourage dynamic conversations with both new and young drivers with the intention of them being forewarned and resulting in safer young drivers on our roads. The early valuation of these headsets shows that it does change behaviours.
“We are currently working with Petroc students in North Devon who are helping us to deliver a package on a peer to peer basis and then university students are going to evaluate this for us. The VR headsets have already been to a L2L event at Chivenor where they were very well received. We plan to take them to all L2L’s later this year.”