THE powerful and emotional message of an annual road safety show has once again reached hundreds of Wee County secondary school pupils.

Senior students from Alloa and Alva academies were at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling last Friday, February 7, with the Safe Drive, Stay Alive initiative

Led by emergency services personnel from around the Forth Valley, the show includes personal accounts of professionals who attend the scene when a crash happens and the stories of those whose lives had been changed forever as a result of a collision.

They were aiming to showcase the devastating effects of careless and dangerous driving.

Supported by a specially created short film, as well as road safety ads, the show is not just about the behaviour of those behind the wheel, but passengers as well.

Hearing from professionals, like the road policing officer who has the unenviable job of delivering the bad news to families, always has a profound emotional affect.

For the first time on stage this year was Laura Torrance from Spinal Injuries Scotland.

Her life was changed forever nearly 21 years ago.

Laura was 16 when the car she travelled in, driven by a friend who had passed his driving test just four days before, took a sharp corner at an inappropriate speed, leading to the vehicle rolling over.

No one was wearing a seatbelt and unfortunately, Laura suffered catastrophic injuries to her spine, meaning she will never walk again.

Alloa firefighter Alan Faulds is the key man behind the show, which reached just under 4,000 young people in the wider central belt.

He told the Advertiser: "We've been getting really good feedback from parents and guardians. The young people have been going home, some a bit upset because it's a very emotive show and the parents have been asking what they had seen.

"They totally understand what we are doing, they are totally buying into it – we are making people safer on our roads."

Figures compiled by the office of MSP Alexander Stewart, a strong supporter of the road safety campaign, show average yearly road deaths or serious injuries were at 89 between 2004-2008, but down to 62 in recent years.

The representative, who was also in attendance on Friday, called on Transport Scotland to honour a funding pledge for Safe Drive.

He added: "Clearly, we need to maintain the project's excellent current road safety statistics; however, there is more to it than that, as it's not just figures that we need to reduce.

"It is also about education, and by having the privilege of meeting the young people, who have had their lives turned around, some tragically, in addition to hearing of the admirable way in which they and their families are dealing with their injuries, I wholeheartedly support everyone's endeavours.

He added: "[I] will be actively assisting them all in any way I can to help maintain and sustain the survival of the excellent Safe Drive, Stay Alive project into the future."