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27 February 2007

On 13 February 2007, at the Woodlands Conferencing Centre in Chorley, the Lancashire County Council Road Safety Group launched a ground breaking Road Safety initiative aimed at new and young drivers.  The initiative is the first of its kind anywhere.  It aims to reduce road casualties and crashes among new and young drivers in the first two years of their driving.  The pioneering approach has been to look at the relationship between new and young drivers, their accredited driving instructors and their accompanying drivers – the non-professional, who, by law, is required to be with all learner drivers.  Research has shown that private practice alongside professional instruction is the most effective way for learner drivers to gain experience and that those who have driven more miles before their tests are less likely to be involved in a crash. 

The accompanying drivers are usually parents who provide the new and young driver with driving mentoring during the preparation for the driving test and in the years that follow it.  Research also confirms that the new and young drivers copy the skills and attitudes of their mentors.  The CD aims to refresh and improve the skill profiles of the accompanying drivers while underpinning the role of the accredited driving instructors.

Lancashire County Council has developed the initiative over the past 2 years.  It stresses that it will be monitoring its impact in Lancashire to ensure that it can adjust and develop the initiative as necessary.  There is obviously a significant opportunity to expand it to a national level once it is proven. 

The CD, produced by PIRANHA, is user friendly and has dedicated sections for both the accompanying driver and the learner.  These help the accompanying driver reinforce the instruction provided by accredited driving instructors and overcome differences of style.  They provide tips on how to handle different situations and provide effective practice sessions.  There are also sections for the learner driver covering legislation and tips for preparing for the theoretical and practical tests.

Further information can be obtained by calling the Lancashire County Council Road Safety Group on 0800 328 1635; Emailing roadsafety@env.lancscc.gov.uk or visiting www.lancashire.gov.uk/roadsafety

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