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'Safer cars but not safer roads' DRIVETIME.

THE motor show has seen the launch of many new vehicles but according to air ambulance experts, safer cars don't mean safer roads.

One organisation which knows some of the horror stories behind the statistics is the National Association of Air Ambulance Services (NAAAS), supported by the AA.

Nigel Webb, of the NAAAS, says tests by the European New Car Assessment Programme (ENCAP) confirm safety is at the forefront of vehicle design.

However, while this means greater protection for vehicle occupants in the event of an accident, and to some extent less damage to other road users, "drivers don't come with upgraded skills."

Mr Webb says road traffic accidents continue to account for thousands of deaths in Britain and more than 95 per cent of accidents are due to driver error."

The NAAAS was established in 1997 to bring about a nationwide network of air ambulance services so accident victims anywhere in the country can have access to air-borne emergency medical services.

Air ambulances, usually helicopters, enable faster deployment of paramedics, who are able to administer "aggressive" and stabilising treatment at the scene and during flight to a hospital, saving many lives.

The first air ambulance service in the UK was formed in Cornwall in 1987. To date, air ambulances have airlifted more than 9,000 people from road traffic accidents, farming incidents, cliff falls and other crises as well as inter-hospital transfers.
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Author:Smith, Stewart
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 20, 2000
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