IAM RoadSmart is part of a group of organisations including Police Scotland and Clelands Volvo which is helping bring driving tuition onto the timetable for under 17s in the Scottish Borders.
The Scottish Road Safety Framework’s Strategic Partnership Board has provided a £73,000 grant to offer a series of driving courses for people in the Borders – basic driving tuition for 15 to 17-year-olds, advanced driving for 17 to 25-year-olds, and driving review sessions for those over 65.
The programme for 15 to 17-year-olds at five schools in the Borders, called Drivewise, offers ground breaking pre-driving tuition during official lesson time.
The other partners are Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Borders Council, Transport Scotland and Volvo. Clelands is the Galashiels based dealership group run by twice British Touring Car champion John Cleland.
As part of Drivewise, there will be 14 sessions in total offered to students from the nine Secondary schools taking part, at a former airfield near Greenlaw, between April and October this year.
The under 17s courses aim to get young drivers familiar with 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 be shown by an instructor the basics of manoeuvring a vehicle safely before having a try themselves in the latest Volvo cars.
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.”
IAM RoadSmart has long advocated road safety should become a part of the National Curriculum in the UK – something that is commonplace in many countries in Europe including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and Latvia. Each of these countries have mandatory traffic education programmes.