How to be a better driver

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A programme which helps improve driving skills in the young as well as the not so young is now up and running.

Drivewise, which is being overseen by all three blue light services, former British Touring Car champion John Cleland, IAM Roadsmart, Scottish Borders Council and several local businesses, has three distinct schemes.

The under-17s programme is taking 700 pupils from all nine of the region’s secondary schools to Charterhall, a disused airfield.

There, they are taught and tested on cars supplied by Volvo and Suzuki.

Police Scotland’s local area commander, Chief Inspector Andy McLean, said: “There is more to this than just teaching under 17s to drive, we are helping them understand how their attitude as a passenger can impact on how a car is being driven.

“The scheme is progressive with a view of the under-17s coming back several times, so by the time they are aged to drive they are already of a higher standard than expected for a standard test.

“We hope they then go onto the 17-25 scheme, where £149 is paid up front and on successful completion of an intensive IAM advanced driving course with final assessment drive, they get a cheque for £149 and a year’s membership to the IAM.

“This can have significant benefits for the young drivers, with regards to insurance costs, but also for employability. We take the £149 up front as its a tough course and the incentive of getting the money back is the anchor to ensure that they do complete the training.”

The programme received £73,000 from Transport Scotland’s road safety framework’s strategic partnership board.

The other side of the programme is a refresher for over-65s, which has sessions coming up near you (see story on right).