YOUNG drivers and passengers can use a new virtual reality app which will allow them to have real-life driving experiences and see the outcomes of bad driving decisions to encourage them not to make the same mistakes in real life.
DriveVR is one of the first VR apps in the UK promoting road safety messages.
It is aimed at young drivers and passengers aged 16 to 24, and aims to highlight how a split-second decision in the car as a driver or passenger could change the rest of your life.
The app is free to download for iPhone and Android and allows players to choose and customise a character and explore their social media timeline, before encountering fully immersive VR driving events.
Containing eight different VR driving events, players can see first-hand through their character's eyes how bad decisions can lead to a road traffic collision. Driving events focus on common causes of road traffic collisions, including speeding, mobile phones, drink driving, drug driving, passenger distractions, seatbelts, rural roads and pedestrian safety.
Anna Higgins, communications manager at the Safer Roads Partnership, said: "We're really pleased to launch DriveVR and promote road safety messages to young people in a much different and much more innovative way than we ever have before, through a virtual reality app.
"The unfortunate reality is that young people aged 16- to 4 continue to be over-represented in collision figures, both locally in Warwickshire and West Mercia, and nationally.
"Engaging with this age group is a priority for us and we aim to provide them with simple information which will allow them to make the right choices as drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
"Promoting this information through virtual reality is a really exciting step for us and literally puts them in the driving seat, allowing them to see the consequences of their actions - both in the short-term and for the rest of their life.
"We're asking young people to think about their future plans and how their actions on the road could affect those plans.
"Will you go to Glastonbury this summer? Will you get married? Who will you marry? Will you go to university or get that job you've always dreamed of? All of these things could change in an instant based on decisions you make in the car as a driver or passenger."
The innovative project has been made possible by grant funding from the national Road Safety Trust, and will support the Safer Roads Partnership's Green Light young driver and passenger education programme which includes delivery of a 50 minute interactive workshop in school sixth forms and colleges across Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
Robert Gifford, chief executive at the Road Safety Trust, said: "The Road Safety Trust was delighted to support this project in its first round of grant funding. Young drivers have long been a high-risk group, due to both their age and inexperience. Projects to tackle this high-risk group will therefore bring great benefits.
"However, we also need to find the most appropriate ways of reaching young people, whether through technology and social media or subjects and language that will have traction with them. That's why the development of an app is such an interesting route to try.
"We look forward to hearing about the roll-out of the programme and to seeing its evaluation. It offers a new way of helping young people to reduce risk both to themselves and to other road users."
DriveVR was developed by Gooii Ltd, following a competitive pitching process, and features actors from Nottingham's Television Workshop, directors, sound technicians, police, ambulance crews and sound technicians.
Phil Hasted, Creative Director at Gooii Ltd, said: "Virtual Reality puts you in the moment but with DriveVR we extend that experience by allowing young drivers to see beyond the impact of that split second decision. Inspired by PS4 games, hard hitting road safety commercials and time travel films, DriveVR is revolutionary in both its concept and its ability to prevent potential road accidents from happening.
"DriveVR combines a social media style timeline with Google Cardboard VR technology, to produce an app that's both instantly familiar and yet unlike any other VR app or game available. Google Cardboard VR also enabled us to build DriveVR so that it's available for both iOS and Android, resulting in a worldwide app store release."
The app has been designed to work with Google Cardboard VR and other compatible virtual reality headsets (Compatible mobile device required). Videos can also be viewed in 360 without a headset.
To download the free app, visit drivevr.co.uk and follow the links to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.