Roses are red - remember the dead

YOUNGSTERS in Somerset are being urged to 'Keep Romance Alive' in a new campaign to reduce the number of road deaths in the county

YOUNGSTERS in Somerset are being urged to 'Keep Romance Alive' in a new campaign to reduce the number of road deaths in the county.The Avon and Somerset Safety Camera Partnership will be handing out roses to youths to raise awareness of the increasing number of road casualties. In the past three years, 37 people aged between 17 and 24 have died on the roads in Somerset, with another 278 seriously injured. Councillor Hazel Prior-Sankey, chairman of the Somerset Road Safety Partnership, said: "A few moments of thoughtlessness can lead to a tragedy which will haunt young drivers for the rest of their lives."Speed is often a factor in these crashes. Sometimes drivers are impatient and in a rush to get somewhere, others simply drive fast because they want to show off their cars and impress their friends."Sergeant Pete Yensen, of Cheddar police, said: "Unfortunately a lot of young people have the mindset of 'it will never happen to me'. But it is young people who are involved in serious accidents."In Cheddar we have started seizing vehicles from people who drive in an antisocial way. The owners have to pay a large sum of money to get the vehicles released. "There is one particular young man in the village who has had his car seized three times in the last six months, and he has now had to pay out far more than the car is worth to get it back."Just this week, police and fire crews were called to an incident on Webbington Road in which a young male driver was involved in a collision. Sgt Yensen said: "He was lucky to emerge from the vehicle unhurt. It could easily have been a lot worse."Police have also noticed an increase in incidents in summer, with young drivers travelling dangerously down the Cheddar Gorge area and around Cliff Street.Sgt Yensen said: "The young men want to show off to their girlfriends or mates. Usually the girls want them to go slower, but young men egg each other on. But showing off to your peers can obviously have serious consequences."The cost of cars is getting cheaper and cheaper. Youngsters buy a car for £100 but then cannot afford the insurance. That doesn't stop them driving them though."The campaign carries the slogan '37 young lives lost, 37 reasons to keep the romance alive' - referring to the number of young people who have died on Somerset's roads. Roses are to be handed out in colleges across the county by road safety officers.

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