A new initiative aims to reduce road accidents involving young drivers by adding tuition to the national curriculum.
Seven hundred 14- to 17-year-old students in the Scottish Borders will take part in 14 day-long sessions that will incorporate classroom tuition as well as practical experience.
Supported by the Scottish emergency services and instructors from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the youngsters will ultimately get the chance to drive one of 20 Volvo V40 hatchbacks donated by a local dealer.
John Cleland, former racing driver and dealer principal of Cleland of the Borders’ Volvo, said: “A road accident report conducted in the Scottish Borders last year found that 25 per cent of the accidents analysed involved drivers under the age of 25.
“In our region, 47 per cent 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.”
IAM says that a study in 2012 demonstrated that graduates of its Under 17 Car Club were five times safer than their peers.
— john cleland (@jclelandracing) April 27, 2017
Andy McLean, chief inspector of Police Scotland, said: “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”.
“The new initiative gives young drivers the experience they need to survive the high-risk early months of solo driving, so anything we can do to provide them with these skills to make roads safer has to be welcomed.”
Earlier this month, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced changes to modernise the British driving test. The key changes include increasing the independent driving section from 10 to 20 minutes, replacing traditional manoeuvres with more ‘real-life’ scenarios and requiring drivers to follow instructions from a sat nav.