A FIREFIGHTER has relived harrowing memories of a killer crash in a heartfelt message to motorists. 

Andy Ford has issued a warning to deter people from unsafe driving, and reduce deaths on the county's roads.

The 54-year-old, who is road safety manager at Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service, shared the plea as part of a safety campaign.

He said he will 'never forget' the scene of a fatal collision in Thame, in which three people died after their car ploughed into a tree. 

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The firefighter, who lives in the town, said: "The fatal four all played their part on that terrible day.

"The driver had been speeding and was found to have been under the influence of alcohol.

"It’s probable they were distracted approaching a bend in the road.

"They and all but one of their passengers were thrown out of the vehicle or around inside it, because they weren’t wearing their seatbelts.

"I remember what I saw that day - you can’t just switch off a memory like that, particularly when I regularly drive down that same road."

He said the sole survivor was 'almost certainly saved' as they were the one person wearing a seatbelt.

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Mr Ford, who joined the service in 1991, added: "That’s what motivates me as road safety manager - knowing that most deaths and injuries are avoidable.

"Cars don’t kill people. But careless driving and complacency can."

The firefighter has attended eight fatal road collisions in the past year and said he has seen so many deaths he has 'lost count.'

Temporary signs will be appearing around the county, to remind drivers of the fatal four, as the fire service continues its 'It's Not Worth the Risk' campaign.

Its team will also carry out safety roadshows and crash scenarios at fire stations and other venues over the next few weeks.

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Not wearing a seatbelt, distraction, speed, drink and drugs are factors that contribute to 90 per cent of road crashes across Oxfordshire.

Mr Ford said that the prevalence of rural roads in Oxfordshire and cyclists in Oxford city itself means drivers in the county must be alert 'the moment they turn the ignition key.'

He added: "If you cause a collision, it can result in life-changing injuries to you, or to anyone else involved. You will also carry the terrible guilt, and for what?

"For the sake of a lunchtime drink, a phone-call, or saving a bit of time?

"Please, it’s not worth the risk. Drive safety and responsibly."