True & Honest
After many years working in marketing and advertising in the heady, hazy capital where, some might say, reality is lost in its fast moving pace, bright lights and glamour, Annette Lloyd moved back to working from the area of the country she’d grown up in – Devon. “Whilst North Devon is a very beautiful place, I did not appreciate it when I was young. After school in Bideford, I went to Leicester University to study History of Art, then on to London to work in advertising. As my brother used to say ‘the best thing to come out of Bideford is the A39.’”
While the move back to the South West has brought about a more natural pace of life compared to the highly competitive, long hours of the capital, her new job at The Honest Truth is just as demanding, just in prettier and calmer surroundings. The road safety programme that started up just over ten years ago as a local project in Devon between the police, ADIs and road safety practitioners, has become a successful, high profile national campaign. “I now appreciate living in North Devon and love to take time to walk along the coastline and beautiful beaches. What’s more, I’m working with an amazing group of enthusiastic trustees, ambassadors and volunteers, all with a personal reason why they are involved in the charity. I’ve found that those people involved in road safety have been so warm, welcoming and supportive.”
I learnt to drive as soon as I could… I wanted my own car and independence. My brother had been given a shiny Mini on his 17th birthday but did nothing with it (he still doesn’t drive today). Unfortunately, dad was less keen to give a girl a car so I had to fund my own driving lessons and charm my grandfather to take me out in his Montego and teach me to drive. I think confidence overcame competence, so I did not pass first time, which in hindsight was a good thing as it made me understand I had more to learn.
Today’s learners have a more thorough approach to learning to drive… greater challenges in terms of number of cars on the roads, other road users and the false sense of security cars today give drivers. I remember driving up a hill in my beaten up Triumph where the steering used to wobble when I went over 55mph, so I was fully aware of the road around me! My son is a young farmer, so very confident, and has experience of driving a range of vehicles on and off road. I was confident he would pass first time (he did) but terrified about how he would be when on his own, knowing what I do now about how at risk young drivers are.
I knew very little about road safety and the dangers young drivers face… when my daughter started to drive I asked ‘how much?’ and ‘do you know someone who has passed their test?’ I had no idea of how the standards of driving instruction vary and did not consider road safety as an issue when selecting a driving instructor. There is a lot of work to do informing parents and learners about the need to find a driving instructor that will teach more than just the mechanics of learning to drive.
I have always been fascinated by cars… I remember being taken to watch my dad banger car racing, seeing cars hurtling around a
field crashing into each other, only separated from the crowd by a thin rope (no health and safety guidelines then!). Dad had a haulage
repair business, so my request on my 21st birthday was to drive an articulated lorry – which I did!
One death on the roads is too many… there is a need to communicate with those drivers who are at risk, whether young, old, rural drivers or others. We all have a responsibity to each other to be safe on the roads. Before becoming involved in road safety, I thought I was a good driver and ‘accidents’ were exactly that, accidents. I now understand the contributory factors involved and the impact of attitude on driving behaviour that cause crashes.
Changing attitudes is about awareness… telling the honest truth about road safety, understanding the risks, how simple changes make a huge difference to our safety. We believe we can make a difference by telling the story behind those incidents, by a mum or a friend, to understand the consequences of risky driving behaviour.
The Honest Truth is unique… road safety messages are delivered via ADIs, and the campaign uses animal heads to typify risky driving behaviours. The original concept is now ten years old but research (including ongoing work with Royal Statistical Society and Exeter University) indicates that it is still relevant and has impact. However, we have refreshed our brand identity and are developing new ways of delivering our messages both face to face and through communication campaigns including social media. ADIs remain central to how we deliver road safety messages to young learner drivers and we are soon to launch a new suite of educational materials, including in-car printed materials, videos and ADI online training.
Road safety should be mandated and delivered to all young drivers… I find it incredible that it is not. There is work being done by government, and I hope we will see fundatmental changes to the way driver training is delivered to young drivers.
Older drivers is an increasing issue… it needs addressing. Self-assessment is not reliable and I believe there needs to be an independent assessment of physical and mental ability at regular intervals.
Ban the use of mobile phones and devices in cars… our continued reliance on smart phones, the need to constantly be connected, is a continued draw on our concentration, and as they become smarter, they’re even harder to resist. ‘Hands free’ is just as distracting but deemed acceptable. It’s confusing and wrong.
ADIs don’t get enough credit… The Honest Truth is working to change that as we recognise that ADIs truly do have a valuable role to play in road safety. I have come across plenty of incredibly committed ADIs keeping their young drivers safe far beyond the test.
In terms of Honest Truth visualisation, I’d be a swan… bit corny, but while I may seem outwardly serene and calm, underneath I’m paddling like hell!