PCC announces plans to subsidise life-saving safety course to protect young drivers

Commissioner in front of village 30mph sign

Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has announced the launch of a pre-test safety course for young drivers to help reduce fatalities and serious casualties on the region’s roads.

As part of his commitment to tackle road safety, the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland PCC has teamed up with charity, The Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust, to roll out its Pathfinder educational programme – an intensive one week driving course for 15 to 17-year-olds and their parents/guardians to increase their skills, confidence and competence before they venture on to the roads.

The innovative scheme targets young drivers who are most at risk within their first year of driving and aims to create a new generation of safer minded and better-trained drivers.

The PCC will be part-funding the courses, expected to be held during the summer months, with drivers contributing a small fee to undertake the course.

Bursary support will also be available to promote inclusivity and remove any barriers young people may face accessing the course.

New figures show excess speed or the inability to correctly judge others’ speed are strong contributory factors in collisions involving young people across the force area. 

Launching the new project, Mr Matthews said: “I am serious about protecting young drivers from the risks they face in their first year on the road. This will be the first time a course of this length will be offered to young people in the East Midlands area and promises to leave a deep and meaningful impact on participants – hopefully influencing their decision-making long after they have passed their tests.

“The Pathfinder programme supports my ‘prevention over cure’ approach and captures young people early enough to instil a stronger sense of responsibility and awareness of their driving behaviour on other roads users while honing the practical skills needed to reduce the risk of injury. By involving parents and guardians on the course, it also helps to build trust and confidence in their driving abilities right from the start.

“Young people who have completed the course have been statistically proven to be less likely to be involved in an accident. I am determined to make our roads here in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland the safest in the country. This safety project is part of a whole raft of improvements I am funding to achieve this ambition.”

The Pathfinder programme is the only pre-licence under 17 driving training course accredited by IAMRoadsmart.

Over five days, students learn core driving skills, driving and road safety theory, dealing with peer pressure, road risk and safety practise, advanced driving appreciation, essential car control, manoeuvring, brake and avoid and speed awareness. 

The number of road fatalities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland has declined since 2012 with a slight increase in serious injuries and fatalities in 2022.

The force’s recent Summer Drink/Drug Drive Campaign, which ran throughout August, saw a 40 per cent increase in arrests compared to the average monthly figure, with one driver five times over the legal drink drive limit. Around a fifth (20 per cent) of these were young people aged 24 or under highlighting this issue is not limited to a specific age group.

Mr Matthews continues to fund an array of proactive activities to keep road users safe including providing 30mph bin stickers for residential streets, funding the purchase of 4x4 vehicle for the Roads Policing Unit and paying for officers to attend driving courses to ensure they are effective as possible policing rural and off-road environments.

Additionally, he has supported and promoted ‘Fatal4’ operations across the city and two counties tackling the fatal four offences (speeding, using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt and drink/drug driving) and has funded several community projects including one providing virtual reality education for motorists who fall short of safe driving behaviour.



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Posted on Friday 29th September 2023
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