Driving home the safety message

Hartlepool Advanced Motorists (left to right) Ronnie Westmoreland, Andy Abernethy, Ron Collings (founder member), Rachel Mincher, Graeme Smith and Ged O'Hare.

Hartlepool Advanced Motorists (left to right) Ronnie Westmoreland, Andy Abernethy, Ron Collings (founder member), Rachel Mincher, Graeme Smith and Ged O'Hare.

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A HARTLEPOOL road safety charity is calling for more young and new drivers to learn skills that could save their life.

The Hartlepool branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) backed the findings of a national survey which showed young, novice drivers are those who are most at risk on the roads.

The IAM study, The Fast and the Curious, revealed that it is men who believe they are more skilful than the average driver at 62 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for women.

Ged O’Hare, chairman of Hartlepool IAM, which runs advanced driving courses in town, said: “There’s far too many young drivers coming to grief on our roads.

“We have got to try to get them involved.

“Not all young drivers are reckless. Often it comes down to inexperience to do with the situation.

“Over 95 per cent of all road traffic incidents are caused by driver error and a failure to identify a hazard or react to it.

“That comes with experience and the skills we can give them.

“Hopefully, we can make them safer drivers at an early stage before they develop bad driving skills.”

Male drivers between 17-29 are more than twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured than young women drivers, according to Government figures.

The IAM report also found young drivers are much more likely to take advanced training if there were financial incentives like reduced insurance premiums.

But Ged said: “That would help to get them involved, but it saddens me to think you’ve got to offer incentives to get young drivers to want to improve their driving.”

He also said he was not in favour of curfews banning young drivers from the road at night.

He added: “For me the only way to improve driving is to get on the roads and gain experience.”

But the message appears to be getting through in Hartlepool as seven of the Hartlepool group’s last 10 members were aged between 25 and 30.

Hartlepool IAM, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, runs class-based sessions and one-to-one driving with observers with a test at the end.

For more information visitwww.hartlepooladvancedmotorists.co.uk or contact Ged on 07985637010.

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