Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Institute of Advanced Motorists' initiative
This is me. I first passed IAM test in this Austin-Healey Sprite.
Experience teaches distrust of claims that one measure or another will prevent x number of road deaths. Earnest but false campaigns by Brake, the charity that promotes slowness is among the culpable. Today it presents a petition to replace 30mph by 20mph in towns. The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ claim that young driver deaths could be cut by a third if post-test training was made compulsory makes more sense. In Austria it has produced a 30 per cent reduction in fatal accidents to new drivers.
Simon Best, CEO of the IAM says: “We need no reminding that 17–25 year olds — particularly men — proportionally have more crashes and suffer more death and injury than any other group. Despite this, very little is being done to ensure that young people improve their driving after passing the test. The high numbers of them who continue to be killed or seriously injured highlights the need for legislation insisting on post-test training over all kinds of roads; especially rural roads on which young people suffer disproportionately.” *
Young driver, 1960s, me, Glasgow Herald Highland Rally, Aberdeen tests.
This Blog has always advocated better training for young drivers. Pre-17 experience has been invaluable in our family (see older posts). The IAM is writing to the Under Secretary of State for Transport about post-test training, which would not be an unpopular option. There would be no question of taking a new driver off the road if they ’failed’, however. A second phase of short coaching sessions and driving practice off the public highway would be compulsory within a year of passing the test. In Austria, legal requirements for novices for further assessment have had outstanding results.
The IAM is launching Momentum in the New Year, offering young drivers a low-cost assessment by an IAM examiner to improve confidence, raise awareness, and reduce risk. What a good idea. I have to declare an interest. As a journalist I first passed the IAM test in the 1960s, repeating it three times more for features I was writing, although I never formally joined the Institute. Passing the test was not the important bit. Observed drives with real IAM members mattered far more. I thought I was an OK driver until my first mentor, Bill Jackson of the Glasgow IAM asked me what was on a road sign I had just passed. It was a tutorial in observation I still apply. Making sure drivers look where they are going is better than 20mph limits for safeguarding GrandTeddy. (see older blogs)
*Rural roads – the biggest killer: IAM Motoring Trust
Beautiful GrandTeddy - well worth a Preservation Order