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Young drivers urged to take up Pass Plus Scheme

26th August 2007

An extra 295 young drivers will get the chance to take advanced driving instruction through the Highland Wellbeing Alliance's Pass Plus Scheme this year, thanks to a £40,000 funding boost from The Highland Council's Community Safety Unit. This extra 295 places bring the total of Pass Plus Scheme opportunities to 644 young people throughout the Highlands and gives them the added offer of cheaper motor insurance; improved driving skills; and more confidence if they successfully complete the scheme.

Highland Council's Road Safety Unit in TEC Services which administers the scheme is currently encouraging new drivers in the Highlands to take part in Pass Plus. Candidates can apply now to register for the discounted course of six lessons from approved Pass Plus driving instructors and they will receive a £100 grant towards the Scheme.

Gillian Slider, Highland Youth Convener said: "As a young person currently learning to drive, this scheme is a great way to improve your driving capabilities while being rewarded with cheaper insurance premiums."

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council's TEC Services Committee said "Highland Council is delighted to provide this additional funding towards the Pass Plus Scheme. This directly meets one of the key aims in our administration's programme for children and young people which is ~working more closely with the police promoting road safety issues, particularly for young people".

"The Pass Plus Scheme will help reduce accidents and improve driving standards on our roads. From a road safety point of view it is vital that new drivers undertake pass plus and they have the added incentive of significantly lowering their insurance costs on completion."

Pass Plus offers newly qualified drivers the chance to gain extra experience at the time they need it the most. 98% of all newly qualified drivers in Highland are in the 17 ~ 25 year old age group however account for 25% of all injury accidents per year.

Laura Fisher, Northern Constabulary Force Road Safety Officer said "We fully support the Pass Plus and the grants being offered by Highland Council towards the cost of Pass Plus lessons. We would encourage every newly qualified driver in the the Highlands to undertake Pass Plus as it significantly increases the knowledge and understanding of new drivers. If you are a new driver or you know of someone who has recently passed their test we would encourage you to take part or to let your friends/family know about the scheme and the grants on offer for it."

The Pass Plus Scheme was introduced in the Highlands in 2002 and is aimed at reducing accidents and deaths involving young drivers.

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.

To qualify for the scheme, applicants should live within The Highland Council Area; have passed their driving test within the last 12 months; and must complete six sessions of the Pass Plus course.

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

The Highland Wellbeing Alliance 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.

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

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