09/09/2010

Photo from the Belt Up LaunchAssassin tells young people to ‘belt up' as part of north east bus safety campaign

Local boxer Lee McAllister is throwing his weight behind a bus safety campaign to educate young people in the north east of Scotland about safety on school buses. View Lee's video message here.

On Tuesday, September 14, the Commonwealth lightweight champion will step aboard a school bus at Ellon Academy to ensure that all pupils have ‘belted-up'.

The 1second1life campaign was established by Aberdeenshire Council, Grampian Police and Talisman last year and has been extended this year to target a wider audience of young people, parents and road users.

Now, a collective group of local authorities and Grampian Police are set to relaunch the campaign through the use of a TV advert to be aired at the end of the month.

Aberdeenshire Council will also be launching a number of other initiatives including posters competitions, high-visibility clothing fashion shows and road safety shows.

All events will aim to raise awareness of the importance of safety on school buses over the next six months. Part of the safety message will also take into account the fact that all school transport in Aberdeenshire must now be fitted with seatbelts.

There is also a renewed focus this year from Scottish Government, Road Safety Scotland and the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS) to encourage drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts every time they are in any vehicle, to save lives.

In October 2009, Aberdeenshire councillors agreed that from the 2010/11 school year all school transport must be equipped with seatbelts, and now the Aberdeen Assassin is telling young people to ‘belt up' to help reinforce the message.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Peter Argyle said: "We take the responsibility of pupil safety while travelling on school transport provided by the council extremely seriously and we will make every effort to ensure that that transport is as safe as possible.

"Recently councillors decided that any bus awarded a contract by the council for school transport must be fitted with seatbelts and it's fantastic to have the support of a local sporting star to help reinforce the importance of wearing them.

"The seatbelt message and extended 1second1life safety message are designed to raise awareness about how important school transport safety is and recognises that where pupil safety is concerned, everyone has a role to play - pupils, parents and motorists."

Lee McAllister was in a road accident whilst on holiday in Greece in 2004 when he was hit by a car whilst on a motorbike and said that the injuries he sustained had him out of the ring for longer than any other boxing injury.

With a young daughter and another addition to the family, Lexiy, recently born he is passionate about teaching his children safety.

"My daughter Liyah is nearly two and knows already that she has to wear a seatbelt in the car and even asks for it to be clicked!

"I am behind this campaign as I want to make sure that young people belt up and also behave on and off the school bus as a young life can be lost in seconds."

Councillor Richard Stroud, chairman of the council's Education, Learning and Leisure committee, said: "It is one thing to say all buses used for school transport must be fitted with seatbelts; however, it is another to ensure that pupils understand the importance of wearing them.

"It is a priority of both council and the partnership organisations of this campaign to educate young people about the need to be as safe as possible when travelling in any vehicle, and we hope that the messages we are putting across are retained by everyone and that school pupils help us ensure they are safe by taking responsibility for themselves while travelling and wear their seatbelt."

Leslie Harrold, Road Safety Manager at Grampian Police, said: "It is our priority to do all we can to promote safety when travelling, particularly when children and young people are involved".

"Grampian Police is firmly behind the campaign and over the next few months and our Road Safety Advisors will be boarding buses prior to them leaving the school to warn pupils about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt".

"Campaigns such as this are pivotal in helping us do this and by working together with Aberdeen City Council, Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council and with Lee's support we hope that this new campaign will be a great success."

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