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Sir Jackie Stewart says kids are key to road safety message
MOTORSPORT legend Sir Jackie Stewart said more needs to be done to teach children about road safety after judging a speed awareness competition.
The former Grand Prix driver gave out the prizes to youngsters who had won a contest arranged by Buckinghamshire County Council to design roadsigns that would encourage motorists to slow down.
It was launched as a pilot scheme by the council in the Aylesbury area and is set to be rolled out across the rest of the county after the success of the inaugural competition.
Sir Jackie said people still need educating about the dangers of speeding and feels making children aware from an early age is the best way to go.
He told the Bucks Free Press: "My experience is young people pick things like this up better than adults, and they influence their parents or brothers or sisters who drive.
"There should be more subjects that use road safety. In science for example you could talk about braking distances for a 30mph car in the wet and dry - when it's wet you lose friction.
"You could integrate it into the school curriculum in lots of subjects and the kids would become more responsible as they grow up and be a bit more careful."
Sir Jackie has been involved in road safety campaigns around the world, whether it's been teaching people about the importance of sticking to speed limits or wearing their seat belts.
Thanks to his campaigning it is now compulsory to wear seat belts in Hong Kong and Indonesia.
He said his passion for getting the road safety message across stems from his time behind the wheel as a professional racer, in an era when the sport was incredibly dangerous.
He said: "I had a two out of three chance I was going to die as a Grand Prix driver. In 1968 we were losing one a month from April to July. When I won the German Grand Prix in August the first question I asked was, 'Is everyone all right?'
"We had to get across to people the subject of road safety."
He presented the winning youngsters with their prizes in Ellesborough, the Buckinghamshire village where he now lives, and he was impressed with the standard of entries.
He said: "They are big enough to be seen and it attracts your attention. There's been a lot of creativity."
The under 16 winner was Tom Alexander, under 12 winner was Brooke Tilbury and Penny Dell won the Reception class category. The winner of the under eight category was Sam Clarke, with runner-up prizes going to Grace McClenan and Mollie Copey.