Skoda is allowing children as young as 11 years old to drive its cars. The German-owned car company has become the latest partner for Young Driver, a nationwide provider of driving lessons for children aged 11 to 17. The program aims to give youngsters a head-start in learning car control skills.
Kim Stanton, Director of Young Driver, says the lessons are vital because young people are the most vulnerable on the road. Indeed, statistics show that more than 1/5 of deaths on British roads in 2011 involved drivers aged 17-24. Stanton adds that “one in five will crash within six months of passing their test”, but Young Driver “can reduce inexperienced motorists’ accident rate by 50 per cent.”
Stanton added that Young Driver chose the Skoda Citigo because its “stylish, economical and easy to operate”, thus making it easier for young people to drive.
Skoda is not be the organisation helping to provide driving lessons for youngsters. The Mercedes-Benz Under 16s Driving Experience allows kids to have lessons in the latest Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The program starts with the basics and allows youngsters to develop braking, cornering, and emergency reactions. Young drivers can even enjoy driving on a circuit to develop advanced skills, including dynamic handling and skid movement.
Severa companies, including trackdays.co.uk even offer young drivers the chance to drive high-performance sports cars. Junior drivers are given advice on how to tackle corners and how to handle sweeping bends, and are also given the opportunity to ask the instructor as many questions as they have about the vehicle in question.
Programs such as these could be an alternative to the government’s current proposal of increasing the driving age to 18 in order to of cut the number of teenage car accidents.
Ministers are due to publish a Green Paper this year after considering a Transport Research Laboratory report, which recommends a one-year ‘learner stage’ beginning at 17. The report suggests that this new system could cut annual casualty numbers by 4,471 and save £224m.
However, Edmund King, president of the AA, argues that you should “prepare young drivers to be safe when they get their licence rather than give them their licence and then restrict them.”
Which system do you think young drivers would benefit from? Post in the comments below.
Skoda is the new car partner for Young Driver organisation, the UK’s only nationwide provider of driving lessons for children aged 11 to 17.