Former St. Mary's pupil takes pole position in road safety campaign
A former pupil of St. Mary’s College returned to the school to talk to pupils about his career as a racing driver, and his new road safety campaign.
Current British Touring Car Championship star James Cole has been a professional driver since 2007, and has competed in the British Formula Three and Formula Two competitions. In 2009 he was British Formula Ford Champion, an honour previously won by well-known names including Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button.
During his visit to St. Mary’s James gave Year 7 and 8 pupils a unique close-up view of his United Autosports Toyota racing car, and also spoke to them about the aims and objectives of his drivecool initiative. This is designed to reduce driving-related deaths by encouraging drivers of all ages, in a fun and informative way, to adopt a greater sense of responsibility, and change their behaviour behind the wheel.
James pointed out that globally nearly 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic collisions, and a further 50 million are seriously injured, making road injuries the biggest killer of children and young people worldwide. And although Great Britain has one of the better road safety records, nearly 2,500 young people are still either killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads every year.
Pupils heard James explain that the inspiration for drivecool came from his own personal experience as a child, “When I was 11 I got hit by a car and badly injured not far from school. I was one of the lucky ones though - I survived, and what’s happened to me since has given me the opportunity to promote the positives of the car, whilst also pointing out the dangers. The phrase drivecool is something my dad used to say to me when I began racing competitively, and it quickly became my motto. Race hard but drivecool - always keep a calm head behind the wheel.”
James is now aiming to spread the drivecool message far and wide, both to existing drivers and - via schools - to the drivers of the future.
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