Government urged to include driving on school curriculum

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Young Driver is urging the UK government to add driving lessons to the national curriculum

Some of the UK’s largest motoring organisations are backing a petition urging the government to add driving to the school curriculum.

The petition has been launched in an effort to reduce the high number of accidents involving new drivers on UK roads.

Young Driver, who provides driving lessons for young people under 17, is behind the launch of the petition. It has already gained backing from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the RAC, the Driving Instructors Association, the Association of British Insurers, the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, Goodyear and motoring presenter and expert Quentin Willson.

A fifth of new drivers have an accident within six months of passing their test; road traffic accidents account for 25% of the deaths of 15 to 19-year-olds in the UK, compared to just 0.5% of the overall adult population.

Every year, 400 people are killed in accidents involving young drivers.

The petition suggests young people should be taught about driving while in school through both practical and theoretical lessons.

Independent research carried out for Young Driver showed pupils who took part in the scheme are half as likely to have an accident when they do pass their test. While similar schemes in Europe show a 40% reduction among new drivers who trained while in school.

Kim Stanton, of Young Driver, explained: “Driving a vehicle is potentially one of the most dangerous and responsible things a person can do. 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. We urge people to sign this petition so we can get this issue in front of the people with the power to change things.”

Mark Lewis, director of standards for IAM, said: “The high number of accidents and the sad loss of life as a result of unprepared young drivers urgently needs to be tackled. 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.”

Quentin Willson added: “If we could get this on the curriculum, so the opportunity was open to all, it would have huge ramifications in terms of the safety of our young people. And, as both a father and road user, that’s certainly something I want to back. 100,000 signatures could help save 400 precious lives every year.”

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