Petition urges Government to put driving on the school curriculum

12.00 | 30 July 2015 | | 6 comments

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
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.



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    Something needs to be done to tackle the shockingly high rate of accidents young drivers have – far too many precious lives are lost, and barely a week goes by without another tragic story. Pilot studies in Europe have shown a 40 per cent reduction among novice driver groups who trained at school, and our own research similarly shows that Young Driver past pupils are half as likely to have an accident when they do pass their test. I set up my company in Watford to try and improve the understanding of road safety. Sirens Driving Academy.

    Stephen from Watford
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    One of the main reasons newly qualified drivers are the most likely group to appear in accident statistics is that they have little experience of driving in the real world. There are two aspects of this. One, the feel of driving can only be imparted by giving youngsters the opportunity of actually driving a car as soon as they are capable, which is to be applauded. The second aspect is actual knowledge of what driving entails and the factors needing to be taken into account whilst driving. These should be taught by schools from primary schools upwards, and supplemented by parents encouraging children to ask questions while they are in the car. Apart from teaching the children, this might also have the effect of making the driver think more about what they are actually doing and perhaps improving their own driving as a result.

    There is also a good argument for introducing a variable licence with restrictions which can be removed by taking a more advanced driving teat such as the pass plus, or the IAM test.

    Alan Kemp, Peterborough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The Stop – Look – Listen sequence that is mentioned in Honor’s post is a fantastic example of a WAI (work as imagined)/WAD (work as done) confusion. Stop, look, listen may be what is taught, but it’s not what people (including children) actually end up doing in the real world. For them they use the sequence in reverse by listening then looking and finally if needs be stopping. It would be much better to teach that sequence and the many associated problems than teaching something which will never be used.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Personally I support this and have happily signed (though I should say that here in Nottingham we already run an accreddited in school driver education course). Without stealing any thunder from Young Driver and Kim, I would also like to share the below petition here to introduce a minimum required number of hours with an approved driving instructor as I believe that both petitions compliment each other as the educational component of GDL without the restrictions.

    Neil Snow Nottingham City Council
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Every one of us uses the road and transport networks every day throughout our lives. It is also where children and young people are most at risk of being injured. Road Safety GB strongly supports the adoption of road user education within the core curriculum. By setting appropriate outcomes for each Key Stage, relevant learning could readily be made part of every child’s core education within existing subjects – not as an optional extra that gets dropped whenever the pressure is on.
    Educational outcomes include, for example:

    By the end of Key Stage 1 (7-8 years of age)

    Understand that pedestrians walk on the pavement and vehicles travel on the road.
    Know to walk with a grown up and hold hands when walking near a road.
    Understand the Stop, Look, Listen and Think sequence.
    Ride a bike (with stabilisers)
    Know to travel in a car wearing a seatbelt and a car seat if under 135cms tall.
    Understand how walking and cycling can keep them healthy.

    Waiting until young people are in their teens is too late – this needs to become part of our standard education and culture from the start and it needs to start by supporting parents and pre-school settings, continuing throughout a child’s education. We believe that society and parents have a right to expect this.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    A worthy initiative and I will certainly be signing up. It does seem strange however that the activity that’s most likely to kill our young people doesn’t already feature strongly in the syllabus.

    There’s more than enough knowledge and understanding to be gained about the subject of driving to make it the equal of any other course available at the average school. It combines sociology, physiology and psychology as well as creative thinking, planning, mathmatics, statistics, physics, meteorology, and engineering into one really useful area of study.

    Sadly though and as much as we might like the idea it will never happen because as far as the educational establishment is concerned motoring in all its forms epitomises all that’s bad about the world. A shame, but there it is.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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