Young drivers to cash in

Community safety groups in Aberdeenshire are offering young drivers under the age of 25 a payment of £80 towards the cost of a course designed to improve their skills behind the wheel, in a move which is hoped will help save money and lives on the region’s roads.

Normally, taking the ‘Pass Plus’ course costs a driver in the region of £160. However, by applying to their local community safety group, young drivers will have the chance to get a recognised driving qualification for just half of the regular cost.

The driving course takes people through six hours of specific driving skills and road hazards with the aim of making sure people are more confident behind the wheel – whatever the hazard.

Over six modules people can learn more about driving at night, in different weather conditions, on city and rural roads, dual carriageways and motorways – areas that sometimes cause inexperienced drivers to have accidents. In addition to the safety benefits of taking part, those behind the scheme are keen to point out that a successful pass could also result in lower car insurance costs, as some insurance companies are now offering discounts for new drivers who have gained a Pass Plus certificate.

The community safety groups, which regularly survey those who undertake the driving course, say feedback has shown that many young people would not have taken the Pass Plus course had they not been able to access the extra funding.

Research has also highlighted that young drivers felt the course gave them confidence and made them more aware of other road users, as well as taking them much further than any initial instruction they had through learning to drive.

Chairman of the community safety groups and road safety advocate Councillor Ron McKail said: “The financial support acts as an incentive to improve the driving standards of under 25s and help them become more confident drivers.

“Research has shown that the funding helps get young people onto the course and also that once they have done it they are glad as it’s made them realise there is a lot more to driving.

“I encourage young drivers to take advantage of our funding scheme as it’s not just about saving money but saving lives too.”

Further details about the community safety groups in Aberdeenshire can be found online by visiting www.aberdeenshirecommunitysafety.org.uk