Driving courses that could prevent another young driver tragedy

After distressing video footage was released from a young driver crash, the importance of driving courses for novices was once again highlighted.

The film was released when the parents of two young drivers killed in a drug-driving accident gave police their permission. It was salvaged from 21 year-old Michael Owen’s smartphone after his Renault Clio was crashed by friend Kyle Careford, 20. The pair from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, veered off the road and crashed through a church wall. They were under the influence of drugs and had been driving at speeds of up 90mph along narrow lanes near Crowborough, Sussex.

Owen’s mother Kat said: “If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video.” Young or inexperienced drivers can also put themselves forward for additional driving courses that can help make them safer, more observant drivers. Here are four courses that should do the job.

Driving courses for under 17s: Young Driver offers shopping centre convenience

Suitable for anyone over 11 years-old, Young Driver’s lessons start from under £35 for a 30-minute session at the wheel. There is a wide range of convenient venues throughout Britain. Its courses are designed to give youngsters a head start and teach them what they’d learn as part of their driving lessons when they turn 17 and can apply for a provisional driving licence.

Driving courses for under 17s: Motor Sport Vision offers a race track setting

Some of the most famous racing circuits across Britain offer youngsters the chance to zip about in a Mini with a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) approved instructor. Motor Sport Vision (MSV) runs YoungDrive! courses at Brands Hatch in Kent, as well as at its other circuits at Oulton Park in Cheshire, Snetterton in Norfolk and a test track in Bedford. Children must be aged 11 or older, the 2.5 hour session includes 40 minutes of driving time and prices start from £85.

Driving courses for under 17s: Mercedes-Benz World covers all aspects of safer driving

Few driving facilities are as impressive as the setting at Mercedes-Benz World. The bespoke driving and experience centre run by the German car maker is in the grounds of the old Brooklands race circuit in Weybridge, Surrey. Its courses are for under 16s, and cost from £45 for 30 minutes of track time, and £85 for an hour. It goes beyond the basics, adding dynamic handling and skid management to the more basic car control tuition.

Driving courses for over 17s: IAM Skill for Life

Newly qualified drivers might think that they’ll get better as they spend more time behind the wheel, but the likelihood is they’ll develop bad habits. The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ Skill for Life course is partly self-taught by DVD and partly overseen by a local IAM expert driver. It costs £145 and at the end of the course, the objective is to pass an advanced driving test. More than 400,000 people have done just that, and consider themselves safer and better drivers as a result.

Driving courses for under 17s: why they’re important

According to the Transport Research Laboratory, almost one in eight (12 per cent) of all road casualties are hurt or killed in collisions involving a car driver aged 17-19 years-old. Yet the age group only makes up 1.5 per cent of licensed drivers.

Its study, published in May 2015, estimates that approximately 4500 fewer people would be injured each year if getting a driving license became a slower process, called Graduated Driver Licensing. That figure includes roughly 430 people who would be killed or seriously injured.

Driving courses for under 17s: a new driving test?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), the main body of the insurance industry, has recently got behind the campaign for improved driver training, saying the 80 year-old driving test needs to be dragged into the 21st century.

Driving courses for under 17s: Graduated Driver Licensing

As reported here, a Government consultation on graduated driver licensing is due to be held in 2016. But Quentin Willson, motoring expert and television presenter, believes it won’t go far enough. He is trying to raise 100,000 signatures for a petition that asks for driver training to be introduced in schools. “Westminster seems bizarrely disinterested in having young driver education in schools. I’ve had meetings with ministers, the Department for Transport and presented to the Select Committee on Transport but not had any politicians engage. Waiting for the government to publish its long awaited green paper on young drivers is no longer an option. We need to act now,” said Willson.

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