'Young Driver' scheme expands
In the two years since it was formed, the ‘Young Driver’ training school for 11 – 17 year olds has expanded to12 sites across the UK and is now delivering more than 29,000 lessons.
The scheme, which is sponsored by Admiral, SEAT UK and Pirelli, is based on the fact that ‘research shows that it is a lack of driving experience – not a lack of years on the planet – that causes one in five newly qualified drivers to crash within six months of passing their test’.
The lessons put the youngsters at the wheel of a dual controlled SEAT Ibiza with a fully qualified ADI who teaches the basics - how to start and drive the car forward, brake, corner, change gear, stop and reverse.
The lessons cost £29.99 for 30 mins or £57.00 for an hour, but there is a range of offers and promotions on the Young Driver website which reduce the cost.
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To have a beneficial effect on young drivers when they take to the roads, pre-driver training needs to be about more than just the mechanics of car control. Instilling the correct attitudes and beliefs, such as expounded in Steve Haley's book 'Mind Driving', is essential. This is the approach taken by the Under-17 Car Club (http://www.under17-carclub.co.uk/index.php), which has achieved excellent results (independently verified) in terms of its members having far fewer accidents and convictions compared with young drivers who have not had such training.
Malcolm Heymer, Dereham, Norfolk
Dave - our role is not to endorse or criticise schemes and initiatives. We simply report on them in order to inform people and let them make up their own minds, and comment if they wish, on the merits or otherwise.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed
Is it sensible of RSGB to give the impression that it is endorsing a commercial venture?
If I set up something similar using friends who are ADIs would RSGB promote our scheme?
I refuse to believe the road safety profession is mending its ways and designing and delivering evidence-led interventions until I see a) schemes like this stopped or b) some valid evidence that they work - overturning two decades of evidence that they don't.
Mike Mounfield, Birmingham
Evidence suggests that pre-driver schemes do not work. I would say it is not the lack of experience that causes a significant minority of new/young drivers to have collisions. I believe it's the years of experience, both through implicit memory (where people learn without realising it) storing information about driving whilst as a passenger and cultural attitudes about driving that people pick up through a variety of means that is unpicking the training/testing regime that people go through. These factors affect the driving style that people adopt when drivers enter what Professor Steve Stradling would refer to as the expressive phase of driving.
Dr James Whalen, Wolverhampton
Despite the evidence that such courses increase the crash risk rather than reducing it.