Mansfield and Ashfield teens aged 15-17 can get behind the wheel

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WOULD-BE drivers as young as 15 are being given the chance to get behind the wheel of a car – legally – in a scheme being run by Nottinghamshire County Council.

The pre-driver training experience for pupils between the ages of 15 and 17 is being offered as part of the Council’s ongoing programme of education for young people in a bid to cut road traffic casualties in the county.

And it comes as the Association of British Insurers is calling for young drivers to be allowed to start learning six months earlier than they currently do.

The ABI says that drivers aged between 17 and 24 are responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes, deaths and claims. It says that allowing them to start learning to drive at 16 and-a-half is just one of several measures which might help reduce that statistic.

The County Council’s one-day pre-driver training sessions take place at the Nottingham Forest ground during October half-term week and follow on from a successful course held there in August.

Two more dates have now been set – Tuesday and Wednesday, October 23rd and 24th – in the Brian Clough stand and car park. The event runs from 9am until 4pm and costs £35. Pupils don’t need a provisional driving licence as the training takes place away from the public highway

All schools and colleges in the county have been sent invitations for their pupils and bookings can be made by phoning 0844 980 8080.

“This course gives young people their first experience behind the wheel of a car in a safe, controlled, environment with fully qualified driving instructors,” said Coun Richard Jackson, chairman of the County Council’s highways and transport committee.

“Research shows that young people form and crystallise their driving attitudes well before they actually take to the road themselves, so it’s important that they receive the right message from the right people.”

According to research from the Department for Transport, youngsters form their driving attitudes long before they actually get behind the wheel of a car.

By the age of 17, when they can legally drive, they have very often picked up bad habits from watching their parents or other people with whom they regularly travel as passengers.

As well as two hours’ in-car training, the pre-driver training days also include advice on how to choose a good driving instructor and workshops on the responsibilities that come with being a driver, including the effects – and repercussions – of drink or drugs on a person’s driving abilities.

There will also be practical demonstrations of safe stopping distances and cornering techniques.