Bid to cut Scottish Borders young driver death rate

L Plate The council has set aside £48,000 to put young drivers through the scheme

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A two-year programme hopes to reduce the number of young people being killed and injured on roads in the Borders.

It will allow up to 400 drivers aged from 17 to 25 to get advanced training.

Scottish Borders Council has committed £48,000 to put them through the Institute of Advanced Motorists' (IAM) Skill for Life programme.

More than 400 people were injured on Borders roads from 2008 to 2012, with the annual cost of road accidents in the region estimated at £35.7m.

The scheme is supported by former British Touring Car Champion John Cleland.

He described it as "an opportunity to cut road deaths, cut government costs due to road accidents and make youngsters safer and more confident drivers".

Young motorists are being encouraged to attend a driver demo day held at his showroom in Galashiels on 23 March.

As well as getting a free health check for their vehicle by Mr Cleland, they will be able to get a demonstration drive and ask experts questions about the course, which normally costs £139.

John Cleland John Cleland said the scheme could create "safer and more confident" young drivers

Ch Insp Kenny Simpson said: "SBC is one of the first local authorities in Scotland to offer free sponsorship for 17 to 25-year-olds through IAM's Skill for Life programme.

"This is a great opportunity to learn skills which offer long term benefits not only to the driver but to the Borders community.

"There are far too many people killed or seriously injured on our roads and unfortunately young people account for approximately 20% to 25% of these."

As well as improving skills, the Skill for Life programme also provides a potential reduction in car insurance and a year's free roadside and recovery assistance.

Neil Greig, IAM's director of policy and research, said: "The best drivers understand that advanced driving will give them the chance to learn skills which will bring them a lifetime of benefits.

"With this new initiative SBC is leading the country in giving new drivers the experience they need to survive the high risk early months of solo driving."

Councillor Donald Moffat said the local authority was delighted to be able to support the scheme.

"The figures all show young drivers are particularly at risk of experiencing a crash, so anything we can do to give them more knowledge and make our roads safer has to be welcomed," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    It is irresponsible of us as a society to hand over the keys of these tonne+ machines to young people and then expect them not to kill themselves and others with it. These are just kids starting out in life - they don't have the insight, mental discipline or life experience to know how to make good choices behind the wheel. Shame on the car and oil lobby for facilitating this slaughter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Many drivers probably believe they are in full control at all times, even while driving dangerously. Maybe these campaigns can help some of them see there's no margin for error left when you overtake on a blind rise or speed around residential areas.

    Under those circumstances, a potentially life-changing accident has everything to do with gambling and very little with skill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Why don't we limit what car they can have.

    Like we limit the power of a two wheeled vehicle that one can have without passing certain tests and being a certain age.

    Give them cars that cannot go very fast and make them look after them. :) then they can have a nice car later and crash it at their own pace

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    "Driving about to impress or going out drinking are the ONLY things to do!"

    There are also sports, hobbies and interests. But in my experience, in Scotland, taking an interest in anything other than drinking marks you out as a weirdo.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Once agian the goverment sits on the wall, why not make this compulsary.
    As and EX driving instructor and exmanier, the test is only a minimum standard of driving to pass, its to easy, even though only about 47 per cent pass it.
    This is a step forward but in my opinion not far enough. Everyone should have to resit every 5 years and which should last an hour and enclude eye tests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    John Clelland is a BTCC legend from the great 90s super touring era.

    I can't see anything but positives from this initiative.

    Having grown up (sort of) in the countryside you tend to learn the basics and off you go. The driving test in Finland is much more stringent, there's to much emphasis on the theory side in this country and not the basics of car control. Same applies to the bike test.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    4.Vital Spark

    The outdated driving test is the problem, compounded by road conditions, achievable speeds by modern cars and quality of road conditions.

    Agreed ..also too many distractions in the cars (as well as too many cars). Basic models with speed limiters might be partial solution

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Torturous local roads and horrible driving in these areas - was once almost wiped out near Duns by a couple of young guys wanting to play 'chicken'. Not sure how this course will counter the bravado and stupidity factor: show them video of the 'real' aftermath of road carnage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    There are plenty of responsible young drivers about, but 2 big problems. Public transport is terrible. Waverley line will only help relieve some of this, many towns/villages remain unconnected. The other issue is lack of things to do. Driving about to impress or going out drinking are the ONLY things to do! At least kids have internet now, in the late 90's the Borders was a dire place to be a teen

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Why not roll it out to all, presumably non-young people account for 75-80% of all the other deaths.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Hew n cry

    The outdated driving test is the problem, compounded by road conditions, achievable speeds by modern cars and quality of road conditions.

    Kids are still kids but, the goal posts have moved dramatically!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Its a good idea, wish Dumfries and Galloway had introduced it when I started driving.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Vital spark- Scottish Borders is very rural and public transport is poor- there are no stations in the region and buses infrequent. You would condemn many to unemployment and drive more young people out of the villages. This is not a lot of money and if it helps more of our young into work and saves lives, what's the problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Raise the minimum age for driving to 21 and introduce a "provisional" level for a two year period after passing the driving test.



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