AM Online reports that young people between the ages of 14 and 17 are set to receive driver training as part of the national curriculum for the first time, thanks to a new initiative in the Scottish Borders.
More than 700 local 14 to 17-year-old secondary school pupils take part over the course of the year. Its introduction comes after it was found that under-17s with controlled driving experience are five times safer than their peers.
“A road accident report conducted in the Scottish Borders last year found that 25% of the accidents analysed involved drivers under the age of 25,” said John Cleland, Cleland of the Borders’ Volvo dealer principal and former British Touring Car Champion.
“In our region, 47% of the population live in a rural community where a high proportion of roads are classed as derestricted, presenting many challenges and hazards for any driver, particularly those who are new to driving.” adds Cleland.
Tutors will educate students on the fundamentals of driving, from the rules of the road and hazard perception through to manoeuvring a vehicle. Under the guidance of professionally trained advanced driving instructors, the pupils will get the opportunity to drive.
“Getting young driver education into schools as part of the curriculum has been a long-term goal for everyone involved in the partnership because it offers long-term benefits for both the driver and the Borders community,” comments Chief Inspector Andy McLean, Police Scotland.
Scottish Government figures show that £35.7m is the average annual cost of road accidents in the region, so the scheme will also look to cut government costs,” said Jeanette McDiarmid, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Borders Council.
Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, added: “IAM RoadSmart has long campaigned for road safety to be a part of the national curriculum, and through this pioneering scheme in the Scottish Borders in partnership with Volvo’s Cleland of the Borders and the Scottish emergency services, it’s starting to happen.”
Are there any driver training schemes like this taking place in your area? Do you think it might encourage underage driving? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin