Campaigners are fighting for driving lessons to be taught at school in an effort to reduce the young driver accident rate and death toll.
Young Driver, a provider of driving tuition for those aged between 11 and 17 years old, launched a petition that asks the government to add driving and road safety and driving to the school curriculum.
It has so far amassed 5,259 signatures, just over half way towards the 10,000 signature-mark, which would see the government respond. 100,000 signatures would result in it being considered for debate.
Its proposal has so far gained the support of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Driving Instructors Association (DIA), Association of British Insurers (ABI), Motor Schools Association of Great Britain (MSA), Admiral insurance and Goodyear tyres.
It hopes a focus on teaching the basics at school before they begin driving lessons at the minimum age of 17 would help solve the growing number of youngsters involved in accidents. Currently one in five new drivers will be involved in an accident in the first six months.
Not only that, 25 per cent of deaths for those aged between 15 and 19 are the result of road traffic accidents, compared with just 0.5 per cent for the overall adult population. Meanwhile accidents involving young drivers account for 400 deaths a year.
Young Driver scheme head Kim Stanton said: “Something needs to be done to tackle the shockingly high rate of accidents young drivers have – far too many precious lives are lost, and barely a week goes by without another tragic story.
“Pilot studies in Europe have shown a 40 per cent reduction among novice driver groups who trained at school, and our own research similarly shows that Young Driver past pupils are half as likely to have an accident when they do pass their test.
“That is why we feel so strongly that this should be added to the school curriculum – our petition does not suggest lowering the age at which people can take to the roads, but instead proposes youngsters should start to be taught about driving at school.
“The younger you can get to teens the better, as they’re far more receptive to safety messages when the pressure isn’t on to pass their test and get driving independently as soon as they can.”
Young Driver says it has delivered 275,000 lessons across the country and already runs events at 130 schools.
The government is considering various measures designed to reduce the accident toll, including the introduction of a zero-tolerance approach to alcohol for young drivers and a graduated licence in Scotland.
Obviously a provider of underage driving lessons would love to see lessons made mandatory at schools, given the financial benefit, but if it helps keep youngsters alive and safe it’s fine by us.
Do you think it’s time schools helped kids with the basics of driving? Or should they wait until the age of 17? Let us know.