Fire chiefs plan to use 158mph Subaru to promote safety messages to youngsters

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FIRE chiefs in South Yorkshire are planning to use a 158mph high performance car to help get road safety messages across to young people.

Brigade bosses want to use a Subaru WRX STI car for visits to schools and colleges, as well as working in areas where young men gather to show off their vehicles.

The £33,000 car would be fitted with a plasma screen, which would display videos about the importance of road safety to viewers.

But South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have already accepted it could leave them open to criticism in a report to the fire authority and have identified potential risks - including the possibility that it might get stolen and the dangers of their own staff driving it too fast during demonstrations.

The report says the car would help reach teenagers and young adults, saying some of them ‘may have disengaged with traditional education’.

It adds: “There is also the potential for adverse comments from some parts of the community regarding the financial outlay.”

Ellen Booth, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “It’s good to be finding innovative ways to reach this hard-to-reach group but there is a fine line.

“Young males are attracted to fast cars, but at the same time we have to be really clear about the message we are trying to get across.”

The Subaru can hit 60mph in about five seconds and is popular with car enthusiasts.

Staff authorised to drive the Subaru will have special training.

The car will be kept in locked premises overnight.

Details of the Subaru plan will go before members of South Yorkshire Fire Authority for approval.

Money for the £40,000 scheme would come from the Safer Roads Partnership.