A crash simulator is being developed by the Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and Toyota, with the aim of teaching young people about the dangers of distractions at the wheel.

The car, which has been donated by Toyota, will be fitted with audio-visual equipment to recreate a realistic in-car experience and will be used in sixth forms and colleges across Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has received a £25,000 donation to create the simulator.

‘Drivers’ of the simulator will be asked to spot hazards on their journey while sending text messages. If the driver fails to spot several hazards the car will release its airbags, lock the seatbelts and dispense artificial smoke to simulate a crash.

The fire service will then perform a simulated rescue on the car. The car will be fitted with hydraulic motors so they do not need to cut into the bodywork.

David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor specialising in road traffic collisions, said: “This simulator is an incredibly welcome development which will hopefully help young people think twice before picking up their phone at the wheel.

“Tragically, young drivers are the most likely drivers to be involved in a serious or fatal road traffic accident and, at Thompsons, we have seen first-hand the terrible consequences of those accidents, for them, their families and loved ones.

“If this simulator has the sobering impact everyone involved hopes it will do, it needs to be rolled out beyond Derbyshire, with the government providing funds for this kind of innovative education to be available UK-wide. Only through education will we see a reduction in the number of preventable accidents on our roads.”