A PETERHEAD-BORN teenager has become the poster girl for a new campaign aiming at cutting the number of young people killed on our roads.
Christie Doran is the new road safety ambassador for the Good Egg — a campaign backed by the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and Road Safety GB.
The teenager lived in Buchanhaven before moving down south to be closer to the Knockhill racing track where she takes part in the BMW Compact Cup.
She features in a new guide that will go to driving instructors, schools and councils throughout Scotland, as well as being included with car sales at main sponsor Arnold Clark’s showrooms.
Christie, 18, said: “I have been racing for just over two years — in a Triumph TR8 and now in the BMW Compact Cup — and there is no greater buzz than driving at speed.
“But there is a time and a place — and it is not on our roads. That is why I wanted to be involved with The Good Egg. They wanted to show the devastating consequences when young drivers get it wrong on the roads.
“But they also wanted to show that there is a positive side to young drivers. Many are sensible. They are the role models.
“Take away the speed and racing is all about car control. It is all about observation, concentration and anticipation. That helps you assess what is ahead and react to it.
“Those same things can keep you alive on the road. We have to get that message across to young people and new drivers.
“Pictures of crashes certainly shock you. Hopefully, a picture of me racing will make young drivers think about what they are doing.”
The statistics make scary reading. According to the guides, young drivers are four times more likely to die in a road crash than from drug, alcohol or other substance abuse. More than 25 per cent of drivers killed in the UK are under 24.
Christie hopes the campaign will have be particularly hard-hitting in her home county.
In 2012, Banff and Buchan had the highest accident rates for people under the age of 24, according to a report by the Association of British Insurers.
It showed that 192 people under the age of 24 died or were hurt in accidents in Banff and Buchan in the previous six years.
She said: “There have been a lot of accidents on rural roads in Aberdeenshire. Some of them are down to inexperience, but speed usually plays a part.
“I had a big smash when I was racing. It was raining heavily and I hit the wall at 60mph. It was just two days before I took my road driving test.
“I will never forget when the car got out of control. I was just a passenger as the car sped across the grass.
“That was on a circuit where everything is done to minimise the risks. On the road, you have to be responsible for your own driving.
“This campaign is all about getting the right message across. The new Good Egg guides give great tips.
“I wish I’d known a lot of this information before I started driving on the roads.
“There are places where you can go, like Knockhill. They have Teen Drive for 13 to 16-year-olds to drive a car for the first time.
“They also have a skidpan, which is great for learning car control. There are driving schools for young teenagers.”
Jan James, spokesperson for Good Egg Safety who collaborated with the UK’s leading transport psychologists, researchers and road safety professionals to produce award-winning guides for young drivers and their parents, said: “We are delighted to have Christie on board as our new Good Egg Ambassador.
“Her youth, passion and driving talent will, we hope, inspire and engage other young drivers as they embark on their own journeys and take to the road as new drivers.”
She added: “Our hope is that young drivers will relate to Christie and hear what she has to say about safe driving practices and keeping speed off our highways. We need them to consider the messages, keep within the law, and hold onto their licences. Most of all we want them to avoid death and serious injury.”
Christie will also visit schools in Scotland. She added: “It is all about making a difference in a different way.
“I am a teenager. I drive. I know how young drivers feel on the roads. But I also know racing, and that is perfect if you have a need for speed.”
Guides are available from www.goodeggdrivers.com