A driver training course which allows 10-year olds to get behind the wheel is to launch its second venue in County Durham.
Young Driver, which provides driving lessons for 10-17 year olds, is running events at the Dalton Park Outlet on the outskirts of Murton. The scheme will be taking over an area of the centre’s expansive car park, which will be transformed into a realistic road system on selected weekend dates. The first event will take place on Saturday 15th June.
Young Driver is the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, having delivered over 600,000 lessons at more than 60 venues across the country. It already runs at Mowden Park RFC in Darlington, with lessons regularly selling out. Youngsters have lessons in new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas, with highly qualified approved driving instructors – with the aim of extending the learning period to create a safer next generation of newly qualified drivers.
A special road system is created, with traffic signs, roundabouts and junctions, along with special areas to practice manoeuvres such as steering, control and parking. The emphasis of the lessons is on safety and encouraging youngsters to consider how to drive responsibly, giving them time to perfect the necessary driving skills without the pressures of public roads.
Four hundred people are killed in accidents involving young drivers every year in the UK. Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers crashes within six months of passing their test, rising to 40 per cent of 17-year old males. Only eight per cent of drivers are aged 17 – 24 and yet they account for a worrying 30 per cent of people who are killed in cars every year.
But for those who have taken a Young Driver course, the rate of accidents in that worrying first six months drops by more than a half, to fewer than one in ten. A survey of almost 2,000 UK parents showed that 42 per cent of mums and dads said that keeping their child safe on the roads is one of their greatest parental concerns*.
Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “We are really excited to be launching at such a great site. Dalton Park will give us a large space which we can use to create a realistic road system, creating different driving zones, and providing plenty of opportunities for youngsters to try out lots of different driving skills and techniques.
“Clearly something needs to be done to tackle the seriously high accident rates of our young drivers, as almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year. Research shows that training drivers over a longer period of time and catching youngsters when their attitudes towards driving are still developing is key to producing a safer driver. This allows youngsters to have a solid understanding of how to drive a car before they get anywhere near a real road – meaning when they do learn at 17 they can focus more on other road users and potential hazards.”
Driving tuition is available for disabled youngsters and Young Driver can also cater for birthday parties. Thirty or sixty-minute lessons must be booked in advance. Lessons start from £36.99.
Upcoming dates for Young Driver to run at Dalton Park are Saturday 15th June, Saturday 13th July and Sunday 28th July.