Young drivers in the Borders are being urged to further their skills in a bid to make our roads a safer place to be.
The BGAM-Cleland-SBC courses are focused on making anyone who sits them a better and safer driver, and have been freely offered to 17-25-year-olds for 15 years.
The participant pays £149 for the first course day and it is refunded when he or she passes the course ... and organisers say there is very nearly a 100% pass rate in the Borders.
Bill Allison, national observer with the Borders group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, organisers of the scheme, said: “The IAM has a reputation of being a staid organisation mage up of old fuddy-duddies in flat caps who never go above 45mph.
“It is not like that and it never has been. A lot of youngsters who join us only do so to get cheaper insurance, but halfway through the course they are hooked.”
Bill says the current driving test does not ready the driver for the full gamut of driving conditions, in that learners cannot drive on motorways and often have never experienced driving in snow or at night until they have already passed their test.
And, he says. our whole idea of road safety is skewed.
“Parents wrap their children up in cotton wool up until they are 17 ... they put them in proper car seats, make sure they are safe in the car. They look after them and take no risks. Then the kids get to 17, they pass their test, and they let them get on with it.
“What we do is way beyond what you learn in basic driver training ... how to read the road, how to analyse the situation, how to think ahead.”
Garage owner and former touring car champion John Clelland, who sponsored the scheme from start-up, said: “You might save your own life and the lives of others, you could get cheaper insurance, and it will look good on your CV, as it shows you have committed to do something.“
Police Scotland’s Chief Inspector Andy McLean supports the schemeas an assessor.
He said: “In 30% of traffic collisions where people are either killed or seriously injured, the driver at fault is under 25. That’s a huge amount.”
Twenty-year-old Greg Noble of Galashiels passed his test with a perfect score last autumn and stayed on to train as an observer. He put his first ‘associate’ through the test with a perfect score as well.
Greg said: “I feel that through doing the course, I have increased my knowledge about driving and road conditions. It has given me far more confidence in my driving, and it’s a really exciting opportunity for youngsters.”
The next set of courses start on October 18 and 23.
Formal training takes up four intense days over the course of six weeks. To find out more, or to book a course, email firstname.lastname@example.org