A local motoring charity has teamed up with Gloucestershire Police Authority to give youngsters a basic grounding in the art of driving a car well before their seventeenth birthdays.
Leaders of the Gloucester Under 17’s Car Club have been giving lessons to under age drivers all week at Cheltenham Racecourse in a bid to prepare the young enthusiasts for a life behind the wheel. The course aims to prepare 15 and 16 year-olds to drive safely and competently by the time they are ready to take their first official driving lessons. The course which lasts all week costs the pupils £170 and focuses on basic driving skills such as clutch control, driving safely and speed awareness. The youngsters also get the chance to practice their new skills on a slalom course and are given a rudimentary insight of car mechanics.
Paul Silverwood is chairman of the charity and is delighted at the way the training sessions are going. He said: “This is about teaching them about not just the privileges of driving, but, more importantly, the responsibility that comes with a driving licence. We don’t just give them the skills, we also show them what happens when things go wrong and ask for their opinions. Not only do they get to grips with the practical side of driving but they also get a lunchtime lesson, which involves the screening of a video dramatisation about a fatal crash and its aftermath.”
The charity have provided statistics that show past users of the scheme have a 50% less chance of having an accident in their first year of driving while male drivers are an amazing seven times less likely to pick up a conviction in their first seven years of driving. Needless to say the youngsters will let insurers know they have completed the scheme when it’s time to apply for motor insurance quotes.
A spokesman for the police authority said: “More than 25 percent of injured drivers in Gloucestershire are 17-24 year-olds, so the police authority takes educating teenagers very seriously. This course gives them a fantastic opportunity to be prepared before they start driving on the roads and focus on the importance of safety.”