Merton Council takes action for road safety

The cameras started rolling this weekend as Merton Council began shooting its new road safety film.

Called Merton’s got safety, the one-minute film will star year 10 (15 and 16 year olds) actors from Merton’s Bishopsford and Ricards Lodge High School drama groups. The film is designed to encourage young people to be safe on the roads and be traffic aware.

The format for Merton’s got safety is similar to the TV hit show Britain’s got talent and consists of three scenes. In each scene, a young person acts out how they would cope with potential distractions when out and about on the streets – a mobile phone going off or friends talking and the consequences of not being aware when on road. The film will also illustrate that young people are not invincible when dealing with traffic speed and distance. A panel of three ‘judges’ in the form of the Britain’s got talent judges Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell, are also played by members of the school drama groups. They will comment and score how the young ‘road users’ dealt with the distractions and the efforts they made to avoid the danger presented by road traffic.

The film was made by film company B3 Creative and video production specialists Phink TV and is due to be launched at the beginning of June along with a credit card-sized road safety booklet illustrated with stills from the film. Once the film is posted on YouTube and the council’s own road safety web page, every child in the borough will be able to view it online. They will also be able to text their friends the link to the film and encourage their friends to pass it on.

Pupils from Bishopsford School drama group said: “This is a great way of telling other kids about the dangers on our roads. We don’t want to frighten people, but we just want to make them aware that they need to pay attention to the cars and lorries as they cross the road. We’re always either on our mobile, listening to our iPods or chatting to friends, and that can sometimes take your mind off the traffic and how fast it’s coming down the street.”

Ellen Harrison, a year 10 student from Ricards Lodge High School said: ‘The making of this film has made me understand how important life is and that you must never take it for granted.”

Merton Council director or environment and regeneration Chris Lee said: “Merton has a good track record when it comes to road safety, but it is something we never take for granted. One accident is one too many. There are so many distractions around these days like mobile phones and MP3 players that it’s easy not to be thinking about the traffic on our streets. We want our youngsters to take notice of other road users and keep themselves safe. The film is a direct and very immediate way of communicating our road safety messages in a way that will appeal to the school age group. With the actors being local school children, this will help to reinforce the importance of responsible road use.”