- Road accident rate is reduced among young drivers that have completed the pioneering SEAT Young Driver programme
- Survey sample shows that teenage accident rate among participants is less than half the national average after six months behind the wheel
- Over 60,000 under-17s will have taken a Young Driver course by the end of 2012
- Special Winter Driving course begins this weekend (25 November)
The pioneering SEAT Young Driver programme is proving to have a positive effect on accident rates among its participants.
That’s the pleasing conclusion of research into the subject by Young Driver Training Ltd, the company behind SEAT Young Driver.
A survey among teenagers that have taken the groundbreaking driver training course has revealed that their accident rate is markedly reduced when compared to the overall rate of newly qualified drivers in the UK.
Statistics from the Department for Transport show that two out of ten newly qualified drivers will crash within six months of passing the test,1 and drivers aged 17-24 are involved in one in four incidents of serious injury or death on the road, despite accounting for one in eight full UK driving licences.2
By comparison, of those that responded to a Young Driver Survey and had held a full licence for six months or more, fewer than one in ten had been involved in an accident behind the wheel: 9%, which is less than half the national rate.3
Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “It’s good to see early indications that pre-driver courses are producing safer drivers. The IAM has always felt that training drivers over a longer period of time and catching them when their attitudes towards driving are still developing is key to producing a safer driver.
“Facilitating more time to develop skills of observation and anticipation, and to build a broad experience of different traffic conditions, will ultimately save lives.”
Kim Stanton, Marketing Director for Young Driver, added: “Our research, along with data from the Swedish Government, shows that training young people to drive at an early age when they’re much more receptive to road safety messages really could save hundreds of lives per year.”
SEAT Young Driver is the only driver training course of its type in the UK, offering anyone aged between 11 and 17 years old the chance to get behind the wheel with a qualified ADI instructor and learn how to drive.
Research undertaken for the Swedish Government found that establishing a minimum number of hours of pre-test driving experience slashed accidents among young drivers by 40%.4 SEAT Young Driver was set up in 2009 based on this research, and remains the only course of its type in the UK.
By the end of 2012 over 60,000 young people will have taken the SEAT Young Driver course, each of them equipped to go into their driving lessons at 17 having learned the fundamentals of driving.
Lessons take place throughout the UK, from Southampton to Glasgow, at venues with facilities for driver training away from the public highway. Locations have included The NEC in Birmingham, Brent Cross in London and Metro Centre, Gateshead.
The course includes the very basics of manoeuvring a car, to more complex, real-world skills like overtaking, using a roundabout and reverse parking.
Winter driving course
To give the next generation of drivers the skills to become even safer on the road, in all conditions, SEAT Young Driver has launched a winter driving course for 2012.
Due to be held during Saturday November 25 at the Prodrive proving ground in the Midlands, the half-day course was developed with motoring journalist and champion of the driver Quentin Willson, and will see youngsters get behind the wheel with trained ADI instructors.
Participants will be able to experience the difference in stopping distances between dry, wet, snowy and icy roads, as well as getting tips on motorway driving during winter. Defensive driving, what to do in a variety of emergency situations, and preparing a car for the winter months are also covered.
Quentin Willson said: “We know that young people are most at risk on Britain’s roads due to lack of experience. Winter makes driving even more dangerous for young drivers and experienced drivers alike.
“With its mix of practical driving on special test tracks and interactive presentations with police driving experts, the course will impart top tips that could save a life.”
The full price of the half-day course is £85 per person.
For more information on the winter driving course, or any SEAT Young Driver events, go to www.youngdriver.eu.
3 Based on a questionnaire sent to 1,436 drivers who’d completed a Young Driver Course. Those that responded and had held a driving licence for more than six months were evaluated.
4 ‘Sixteen years age limit for learner drivers in Sweden—an evaluation of safety effects’, published March 1999 – copy available on request