Students at Westonbirt School will spearhead the latest drive to promote road safety by launching an online course for young drivers.

Sixth formers at the independent school near Tetbury are working in partnership with Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue to launch the Gloucestershire version of Drive iQ (Friday June 26th).

DriveiQ is a well-researched and dynamic education online platform specifically designed for novice and newly-qualified drivers, and although the benefits are priceless it will available free of all charge.

Safe and social driving and Helping young people become responsible adults are two of Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s priorities. He said:

“It’s a harsh truth but the facts speak for themselves and are proof that the riskiest thing a teenager will most likely do is get behind the wheel after they pass their test. Probably the second riskiest thing is being a passenger in a car driven by a new young driver.

“It’s not their fault. The reason is that the part of a young person’s brain that’s responsible for assessing risk, anticipating danger, eye scanning and impulse doesn’t fully develop until their early to mid-twenties. We need to do all we can to help protect them during this vulnerable period.”

Statistics show that:

  • 1 in 5 young drivers crash in their first year of driving
  • Thousands of 16-24 year olds are killed or injured on UK roads every year.
  • 95% of crashes are contributed to by attitude & behaviour
  • 1 in 5 new drivers have a crash within six months of passing their test.
  • An 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year-old.

In the past three years 808 road users have been injured on the roads in the Cotswolds. During that period, two thirds of all car passengers aged 15-19 injured on Gloucestershire’s roads have been young women.

Director of Operations for the Road Safety Partnership, Steward Edgar, who is also Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said:

“As a parent of young drivers, and as a young driver once myself, I know only too well the joy of motoring and the fantastic sense of freedom that it brings – but I also know that it brings with it huge responsibility. 

“This is why I’m truly delighted to offer DriveiQ Gloucestershire to every young person embarking on a driving career and also to the parents and guardians of these young people so that learning to drive can be a joint exercise and the obvious risks can be faced and managed in a positive and constructive way.

“We have taken a lot time and great deal of care to ensure that DriviQ is right for Gloucestershire’s drivers of tomorrow, and I know that not only will they enjoy doing it but they will be laying solid foundations to become a safer and more social driver for the future.”

As part of the Drive iQ launch, Year 12 pupils at Westonbirt School will complete modules in road safety and will be presented with certificates at the end of the day.

Head of Sixth Form, Mary Philips said:

“Westonbirt are delighted to be taking part in this very important training for our pupils. Being a school in a country setting, many of our Sixth Formers drive and road safety and awareness is vital to their safe driving.

“We have 31 girls taking part in this practical training from Year 12 and I am sure they will learn a huge amount throughout the day.”

During the day, a dramatic road traffic collision will be ‘set-up’ in the 6th form courtyard and will include crashed vehicles, emergency service rescue vehicles and service personnel.

Students will play the part of victims in the ‘collision’ and witness how the dramatic scene and rescue unfolds to clearly demonstrate the tragic consequences when things go wrong and to emphasise importance of road safety and the part that DriveiQ can play.