New initiative will offer pre-licence training to teenagers in Scotland

12.00 | 25 January 2017 | | 5 comments

IAM RoadSmart has unveiled a new initiative which will see 15-17 year-olds in the Scottish Borders receive pre-licence driver training.

Announced in press release today (25 Jan), ‘Drivewise’ is backed by a £73k grant from the Scottish Road Safety Framework’s Strategic Partnership Board.

IAM RoadSmart says this one of the first pre-licence training courses to be offered anywhere in the UK, in a properly controlled and structured way.

Described by IAM Roadsmart as ‘groundbreaking’, Drivewise is being delivered to 15 to 17-year-old students at five secondary schools in the Borders. In total there will be 14 sessions, held at a former airfield near Greenlaw, between April and October this year.

The course aims to equip young drivers with a basic knowledge of driving and road rules through simple manoeuvring of a vehicle, and also instil in them good driving attitudes and habits.

Each session is completed within a day. Students will start off in the classroom, then shown by an instructor the basics of manoeuvring a vehicle safely, before having a try themselves. They will be assessed and encouraged throughout the day.

The other partners involved in the initiative are Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Borders Council, Transport Scotland and Clelands Volvo.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “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, it is starting to happen.

“It is crucial that the ‘safe driving is fun’ message is brought into the lives of young people at school age and encouraged as part of the school system. We believe that simply leaving young people at 17 to handle this all by themselves increases the risk tremendously to the driver and those around them.

“This is a truly ground breaking initiative, and hopefully there are some exciting times ahead for future road safety and lower risk for young people.”




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    I’m all in favour of any schemes that aim to reduce casualties among novice drivers. I am involved with a scheme called Engage in the northwest of England. It also operates elsewhere. We have very little funding and rely upon ADIs to deliver it’s content directly to drivers undertaking a course of lessons. It’s a great ‘partnership’ approach between the ADIs, police and local authorities. The only thing is that we struggle to evaluate the scheme and therefore find it difficult to obtain funding to further develop as we cannot show that it works. To add insult to injury, our road safety partnership have told us that the number of young driver KSIs is comparatively low so we do not get any funding from them. For all we know, our scheme may be working – we just cannot prove it! I wonder what evaluation methods are in place for this one?

    P Mountford. Merseyside
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    5 Secondary schools, 14 sessions taking a day per session, £73k. So how many people per session? Logistically, there can’t be that many per session so how the Dickens is this going to be of any benefit in general terms. I’m pretty sure that £73k could be put to better use.

    Jack Cook. Doncaster
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    I would be much happier if the youngsters and others were trained and or assessed by qualified personnel. That is those that hold a qualification earned and regulated by the DSA, rather than just volunteers with good intentions.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    Once again a commendable project. However, who wrote this? Do they not know what has gone before?

    “This is a truly ground breaking initiative, and hopefully there are some exciting times ahead for future road safety and lower risk for young people.”

    What is truly ground breaking about this?

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Would be good to know if the evaluation will measure any effect on earlier licensure and associated risks that have been raised previously in relation to pre-17 practical training?

    Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire
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