A petition urging the Government to include driving on the school curriculum has received backing from a number of driver training and motor industry organisations.
Launched on 28 July by Young Driver*, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, the petition already has backing from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the RAC, the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain (MSA), Admiral, Goodyear and the motoring presenter Quentin Willson.
The petition does not propose lowering the age at which people can take to the roads, but instead suggests youngsters should start to be taught about driving at school, via both practical and classroom based lessons.
Young Driver points to independent research which it says shows that past pupils of its scheme, which takes students from age 11, are “half as likely to have an accident when they do pass their test”. It also says pilot studies in Europe have also shown a 40% reduction among novice driver groups who trained at school.
Kim Stanton, from Young Driver, said: “Learning to drive should be done over a long period of time, and from a young age, when pupils are more receptive to safety messages.
“Evidence-based research shows that road safety messages are better absorbed by children in their early teens rather than at driving age. By having this take place at school it can be made inclusive for all.”
Mark Lewis, director of standards for the IAM, added: “Quite obviously the driving education that youngsters are currently receiving is inadequate. Learning such an important skill shouldn’t potentially be done and dusted in a few short months.”
Young Driver was established in 2009 with the aim of helping teach youngsters to drive over a longer period. Anyone over the age of 11 years and above 1.42 metres tall can get behind the wheel of a dual control car with a qualified ADI. Lessons take place on private property which has been developed into a road system complete with road signs, junctions and car parks. More than 250,000 youngsters have been through the Young Driver experience and there are 37 venues across the UK.