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Council Safety Initiative Reduces Deaths

21st June 2009

Photograph of Council Safety Initiative Reduces Deaths

Council road safety initiative helps reduce number of people killed and seriously injured on Highlands Roads

A road safety initiative aimed at young drivers in the Highlands is helping to assist in the reduction of deaths and serious injuries throughout the area.

The Highland Council's Pass Plus scheme for young drivers aged 17 - 25 years was introduced in 2002. Figures recently produced by the Council have shown that since 2005, Pass Plus has seen a significant increase in the number of people applying for the scheme with 704 young drivers completing the scheme. This has corresponded with a downward trend in the number of injury accidents involving young drivers. In 1998, 275 young drivers were involved in injury accidents while in 2008, the corresponding figure was 145. In the corresponding period the number of fatal accidents involving young drivers has fallen from 12 in 1998 to 6 in 2008.

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee said: "I am extremely encouraged to see a downward trend in the number of young drivers being injured in accidents. To drive safely in the Highlands we have to be prepared for all types of eventualities from City driving to rural single track and it is vital that our young people continue to take all the opportunities available to them to improve their own and others' safety."

Chair of Highland Youth Voice, Robin Falconer who is also Convener of the Transport Campaign Group of Highland Youth Voice has recently passed his driving test. Robin said: "I was delighted when I passed my driving test as I had always been looking forward to driving alone. Now, I don't have to rely on others for transportation and therefore it gives me a lot more freedom. I knew that, just because I had passed my test, this did not mean I was an experienced and skilful driver. For this reason, I have decided to apply for the Pass Plus scheme, which will not only significantly reduce the cost of my insurance but also provide me with more driving skills to ensure that I am a safer, more confident driver."

Pass Plus offers newly qualified drivers the chance to gain extra experience at the time they need it the most. Ninety eight percent of all newly qualified drivers in Highland are in the 17 - 25 year old age group however they account for 25% of all injury accidents per year.

Pass Plus is designed to raise driving standards and better equip new drivers to deal with the differing situations they are likely to meet after passing the driving test. Approved by the Driving Standards Agency, successful participants are awarded a Pass Plus Certificate from the DSA on completion of their course.

Supported by an approved number of Highland driving instructors, Pass Plus pupils are coached on practical driving situations including: in town; in all weather; at night; on dual carriageways; on motorways; and on rural and single/track roads.

The Highland Council is encouraging more new drivers to take part in the Pass Plus Scheme because:

a driver aged 17-25 is six times more likely to be involved in an injury accident than a driver aged over 40;

the probability of having an accident is reduced by 1/3 after only one year's driving experience;

newly qualified drivers who total more than six points on their licence in the first two years will have to go back to learning status.

Laura Fisher, Road Safety Officer, Northern Constabulary said "This is not a short term fix or solution, but rather a long term strategy to reduce the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads. We work closely with our partner agencies to educate young people, helping them to make the right decisions, whether they are passengers, drivers or pedestrians. It is also important that parents or carers realise that their driving habits can have an influence on the way their children drive. They are afterall their most influencial role modals."

Young drivers, who want to apply for the Pass Plus Scheme can pick up a leaflet from their Driving Test Centre, telephone Highland Council's Road Safety Unit on: 01463 702690 or apply online at www.highland.gov.uk/passplus

Photo
Left to Right: Lewis Munro (from Glenshiel, Lochalsh),
Vice Chair of Highland Youth Voice, and Vice Convener of the Transport
Campaign Group; Robin Falconer (Wick) Chair of Highland Youth Voice, and
Convener of the Transport Campaign Group of Highland Youth Voice; Chief
Inspector Ian Bryce, Northern Constabulary and Cllr John Laing, Chairman
of The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee.

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