Help for young drivers as police reveal shock accident stats

John Cleland
John Cleland

ONE in five fatal or serious road crashes in the Borders involves a driver under the age of 25, with the young person being the primary cause in almost two thirds of these smashes, writes Andrew Keddie.

Many of the incidents involve only one vehicle and they are usually the result of loss of control by the young motorist – and usually on a bend on a rural road.

These shocking statistics have been released as part of efforts to promote a series of young driver roadshows organised by the Scottish Borders Road Safety Working Group. It is all part of an ongoing commitment to reducing the number of young drivers and passengers killed or seriously hurt on the region’s roads.

The roadshows, which are open to 17 to 25-year-olds, are part of the long-term campaign aimed at raising young drivers’ awareness of the risk and responsibilities of driving a vehicle on the road. The events are designed to provide these motorists with the opportunity to develop their driving skills to make them better and safer drivers. On offer will be the chance of free demonstration drives from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

There will also be competitions and prizes to be won – including fuel vouchers. People can take part in the Show and Shine competition to recognise the best-prepared vehicle of the night, and they can talk to experts from the police, Scottish Borders Council, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, IAM and others.

Galashiels motor dealer and former British touring car champion John Cleland is providing the opportunity for young people to take the advanced driving test and has agreed to refund the first 100 who successfully sit the course and test.

Inspector John Scott, from the Scottish Borders Safer Communities Partnership, said the young drivers events are a great opportunity for those who have recently passed their test to become safer and more skilled behind the wheel.

He said: “This is crucial in the Borders where we have a vast network of rural roads where driving conditions constantly change.

“Every young driver pays high insurance premiums to get behind the wheel. This is because they are at greater risk of being involved in an accident. In partnership with the Institute of Advanced Motorists and John Cleland, our young drivers have the opportunity to learn new skills to drive safely with a greater awareness of dangers on the roads and build confidence in their driving ability. This course will be funded through sponsorship if you successfully pass, and this can significantly reduce car insurance costs.

“Many young drivers learn the hard way by being involved in a car crash and too many parents in the Borders see the consequences, which can last a lifetime. I would welcome all young drivers to the events and see what is on offer.”

Sponsored by Cleland’s, Car parts 4U, Aitken Walker Garage, Halfords and Viewfield Garage in Selkirk, the three roadshows will take place tomorrow at Duns (old high school bus park); Friday, May 18, in Hawick (Haugh car park) and Friday, May 25, at Galashiels (Netherdale car park). All events run from 7.30-9.30pm.

To book up and/or to become a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, visit http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/info/1529/road_safety/1076/the_drive_of_your_life or email your name, address, postcode and a telephone number to safercommunities@scotborders.gov.uk.