21 Feb 2010.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Police, RoSPA & BBC Illustrate What`s Wrong With Road Safety Establishment
An innovative idea to train young people to drive off the public road has been criticised by the police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.1
A company called 'Young Driver Training'2, sponsored by SEAT, Admiral Insurance, and Pirelli, is offering driver training courses to children under 17 at dedicated centres.
The Police Federation have dismissed the idea, bizarrely refering to 'on the roads' despite the training being off road. Insp Alan Jones said:
“Driving on one of these courses at 11 years old, it's another six years until you can get a driving licence. How does it replicate the real world, the spontaneous incidents? Are kids mature enough at 11, 12, 13 years old to understand what's happening on the roads, to be able to manage all the demands and pressures? I'm not persuaded it's a good idea.”
RoSPA were even more negative, and resorted to scaremongering amongst their incomprehensible contradictory statement in which Kevin Clinton said:
“While early education is a very good thing, the same does not apply to driving a car. It will probably mean youngsters will take fewer lessons when they come to learn to drive and if they take fewer lessons they will get less experience. That means when they pass their test they may be at greater risk of crashing because they won't have had as much experience when they are supervised.”
These opinions were expressed despite research from Vägverket (the Swedish National Road Administration) 3 showing that allowing people to practice driving from the age of 16 before they were able to obtain a licence (at 18) REDUCED accidents amongst newly qualified drivers by 40% 4.
ABD spokesman Brian MacDowall said:
“The negative whining attitude of the police and RoSPA to this initiative illustrates everything that is wrong with the road safety establishment in Britain. An innovative idea to improve road safety is dismissed out of hand based upon nothing but scaremongering. The road safety establishment has this absurd attitude that driving is bad and dangerous and must be discouraged at all costs. Anything to do with making drivers better or upgrading roads is rubbished by these people — only punishing, restricting and obstructing drivers is acceptable. It is they who are out of touch with the real world.”
The ABD believes that teaching children to control a car before they are allowed on the roads is a sound idea that will improve road safety. It is certainly far better than them playing a video game in which crashing a car results in nothing more than a game reset. Not only will they be better able to control a car once they are allowed on the roads, they will get a better perspective on road safety from the point of view of a pedestrian.
It is no different to children learning to ride a bicycle off the road before trying to ride it on the road. No parent would dream of sending their child out on the roads on a bike before they learnt how to handle it off road first.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory added:
“The negative attitude of the police and RoSPA is to be condemned, but it is sadly typical of everything that is wrong with the road safety establishment in this country, a situation that is made worse by the media — the BBC reported this story using the headline 'Fears as children aged 11 take driving lessons'. Why? Their job is to report news not incite hysteria.”

1. BBC Story - "Fears as children aged 11 take driving lessons"
2. Young Driver
3. Vägverket (Svenska)
4. Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute —Young novice drivers, driver education and training [pdf] See section 5.2.5 pages 104–108
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