First Pass For New Driver Training Scheme Aimed At Cutting Road Deaths
A unique driving school backed by the emergency
services and aiming to cut road deaths has had its first pass.
Emma Hallett from Greasby in Wirral passed her driving
test with flying colours to become the first pupil from
newly-launched Engage to do so.
Engage is a ground-breaking safety initiative for
learner drivers which is supported by the police, fire service and
local councils because it teaches pupils things which traditional
driving schools tend not to.
Learner drivers are educated about how to avoid being
distracted, how to avoid being influenced by passengers or other
motorists, the dangers of fatigue, speeding, alcohol and drugs, and
the importance of seatbelts.
Sergeant Paul Mountford from Merseyside Police's Roads
Policing Department, said: "These are all factors that contribute
to people being killed and injured on the roads every year.
"When they go out on the roads for the first time
after passing, new drivers have a lot to deal with and
unfortunately one in five have a collision within the first six
"The Engage scheme aims to reduce that risk by adding
extra training about how to deal with real life hazards so that as
well as learning how to pass their test, they also learn how to
stay safe on the road."
Emma, aged 17, passed her driving test after being
taught by Jude Smith at Hazel's Motorschool who herself had
undergone training to deliver Engage to her students. Both Emm and
her mum, Karen, had attended an open evening held by Wirral and St
Helens Road Safety Teams and Merseyside Police at Wallasey town
hall earlier this summer.
Emma, who went along with her mum, Karen, said: "I
decided to take part in Engage because I knew there was more to
driving than just passing a test. Everyday there are many different
situations to deal with on the roads and I knew that I needed to be
capable of these on my own.
"I have not only learnt about important safety issues
but also about how drugs and alcohol can seriously affect a
"Since passing my test I am able to read the road
ahead better and respond to avoid potential hazards. I feel this
scheme is invaluable for young drivers because it aims to reduce
the risk of potentially fatal accidents among this age group. If
all young drivers took part then hopefully we would be working
towards making the roads safer for everyone."
The Engage scheme was launched in May after eighty
driving instructors were given specialist training by the
Merseyside Road Safety Partnership to deliver the extra tuition. As
well as in-car discussions between instructor and pupil about the
new topics, students are also given homework and can go to extra
workshops held by road safety experts. Parents are also encouraged
to get involved in the learning process.
Mrs Hallett, said: "I am very pleased that Emma
decided to participate in Engage. I feel she is much more aware of
her surroundings and is better equipped on how to avoid potential
hazards and distractions. I was shocked by the statistics regarding
young drivers so any sheme that helps make the roads safer has got
to be worthwhile".
Sgt Mountford added: "It is a real achievement for
Emma to pass first time. The extra skills she has learnt through
Engage will mean she starts out knowing more about the risks when
driving without an instructor and how to avoid them. Parents can
beneift from this scheme as well. As a parent myself I know what it
feels like to see your child drive away from home for the first
time after they have passed their test and have experienced the
stress and worry while waiting for them to come home.
"Hopefully the parents of children who go through the
Engage programme will feel more at ease when that time comes."