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A quarter of young adults (18-24 year olds) are involved in a road traffic accident within 2 years of passing their tests.  They are 3 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than older generations.  It is unfair to assume this statistic is made up of boy racers. The vast majority of young drivers are considerate and diligent. They, however, lack a vital ingredient of being a good driver- experience. Only with experience comes hazard awareness and good decision making.

Alan CalderwoodThe old adage of only learning once you pass your test is doubtlessly true. Only once the training wheels are off does the real training begin. A driver could pass their test without having ever driven outside their very small rural home town where there is only one roundabout. A driver can pass their test without ever having driven with more than 1 person in the car and certainly will have never driven alone. A driver can pass without ever having driven in rain, snow, at night or on a motorway.  With all that in mind it is staggering the statistics are not worse.

We have previously blogged on the inadequacies on the UK driving test (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre). One local authority is taking a stand and supporting their young drivers to fill the vacuum between passing their test and being an experienced driver.  We are delighted to see Scottish Borders Council are sponsoring borders residents under the age of 26 to undertake RoadSmart’s skill for life programme. They have committed £48,000 to upskilling their young drivers by refunding the £149 drivers pay for the course. The Borders have notoriously poor weather in winter leading to treacherous roads. The additional skills these young drivers will gain could not only save their own lives but the lives of countless other road users as well.

With 434 people injured in road traffic accidents on Borders roads from 2008 to 2012 and the annual cost of road traffic accidents in the region in excess of £35m, the Borders Council have made an incredibly wise investment.

Anyone taking up the scheme not only gets the course for free but they may also reduce their insurance bill and will get 12 months RAC breakdown cover. Sign up!

Blog by Alan Calderwood, Edinburgh Lawyer

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