Road Safety News

Police force launches free driving awareness courses

Tuesday 8th April 2014

Avon and Somerset Police has launched a free “driving awareness session” to help improve the safety of all drivers, especially younger ones.

The driving awareness session, Road Smart, has been introduced in response to figures which show that around one third of those killed or seriously injured on the force’s roads are aged 17-24 years.

The course has been created on behalf of Avon and Somerset Police by the TTC Group, which educates 250,000 road users each year.

Sessions will be available at venues across the force area and are designed to raise awareness of potential hazards on the roads and build on motorists’ existing driving knowledge and experience.

The courses will start at the end of April and run for 12 months. Two versions have been created, one for young motorists aged 17-24 yrs, and the other for the over 25s.

Superintendent Ian Smith said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to benefit from a free course that could be a lifesaving opportunity.

“Studies show that a significant proportion of collisions are caused by human error and we want to try to help reduce this number.

“The national course this is based upon is widely hailed as excellent, thought provoking and really does influence driver behaviour.”



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Concerned tax payer.
May I intercede here. A police officer is not just there to catch criminals. An officer is there and takes an oath to [1] protect life and property, [2] maintenance of order, [3] prevent and detect crime, and [4] prosecute offenders. So by protecting life many are skilled in driving practice, more so than any other service. Many other services are trained by the police. Many years ago it was the police who delivered cycle training in schools but not so much nowadays.

With so many well trained traffic officers it became easy and normal to use their qualities, qualifications and expertise and vast experience to help and train/instruct others on road law and safety. A police officer with consent of his Chief Constable can engage in another job and so many police officers use those qualifications for the benefit of others without reducing their policing capacity.
bob craven Lancs

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Why are the Police getting involved in 'Driver Training'? Why is it not the driver training industry/profession doing this? Or local road safety organisations? The police should be concentrating on other matters. Could the reason be that that driving instructors are doing a very poor job when teaching people to drive and are not fit for purpose?

Agree (3) | Disagree (10)

Perhaps the Police could pick out the drivers who they think might benefit and gently persuade them to attend without being too heavy-handed about it?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

This seems positive. So much about police involvement seems to be about making money, offering genuine training/education for free could never be bad. I only fear that those who need it the most will be least likely to consider that they could benefit from it.
Dave Taylor, Guildford

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Apparently it's not a training course as such but just a two hour workshop. So expect some limited returns. Still a good idea as they promote it with gifts or insurance reductions with certain companies. It would be easy for insurance companies to give statistical details of any advanced rider or driver who has been involved in an accident as they give discounts to this group. This would make interesting reading if they don't believe that it works and is just a gimmick to encourage the purchase of their product.
bob craven Lancs

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It is good to see driver education courses being funded outside of the driver funded Speed Awareness Courses. This new offering in Avon and Somerset joins the number of similar such courses and programmes that are offered by Road Safety teams and other organisations throughout the country. To find out what is on offer to younger, adult and older drivers in your area, look on your local authority's website or contact your local Road Safety team - contact details are available through the Contacts tab on this website.
Honor Byford, Chair Rod Safety GB

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I have read in a number of papers that insurance companies give a discount for course attendance as a marketing initiative and not because they have found that courses have any noticeable effect on the accident rate. Whether this is down to them not looking at the data to see if there is a correlation between post test education and accidents is open to question, so perhaps an insurance company representative might enlighten us.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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Perhaps promotions and incentives could be put forward by insurance companies. I know that money is tight and most families are concerned with the ever increasing cost of motor insurance that if such courses are supported and promoted by insurances maybe there would be a greater take up. Advanced driving/riding courses boast about the insurance discounts that are or may be available, so there is a possibility that something like this will promote the courses. Not only for those who wish to improve their driving skills but of those who would not otherwise care.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

Excellent! Although I have commented here more than once that if these courses are so good why not cut out the middleman and the costs of press-ganging drives to attend and offer them at lower cost to anyone who wants them, I don't claim credit!

Seriously though, many if not most younger drivers are keen to improve their driving and stay alive, and no doubt their parents even more so, I predict that these courses will be fully booked if well publicised, and in the right spirit - carrots not sticks. But who is paying for them, there being no such thing a a free lunch?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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Ashley makes a very interesting point about why most interventions like these have a high failure rate and that is the belief system telling the target rider/driver that these courses are always for the other guy, never for them.

Another problem is that courses like these are usually very good but they are always presented from the point of view of 'authority' and hardly ever from that of the 'peer'. They also smack of bad-apple theory in that they tell the intended audience that what they are currently doing is bad and that only if they attend will they become good. If it's 17-24 year old's that are the problem then the only person that can really reach them is another 17-24 year old that looks and acts exactly like them.

Maybe these are problems that our industry needs to address and come up with some new ways of reaching their target audience.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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Great, but the drivers that need them and should attend will of course believe they don't and so won't.
Ashley Leaney

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The new free course is by a company that runs speed awareness courses offered to those who might be charged with minor driving offences, but who wish to avoid the possibility of prosecution. Does the new free course include the same content as the speed awareness course? Also, will someone who has attended the new free course still be offered a speed awareness course should a minor driving offence be alleged against the driver of their vehicle? If not, this may limit the take up of the offer. This looks like a promising road safety intervention.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)