MP Backs Ford's Young Driver Training Programme

Ford Training Event Proves To Be A Big Success

18.10.2013

An MP has given his backing to Ford's Driving Skills For Life initiative.

Jim Fitzpatrick thinks the scheme - which is aimed at improving motoring standards among 17 to 24-year-olds - could help to prevent serious accidents on the UK's roads.

Mr Fitzpatrick - an MP for Poplar and Limehouse - said: "As an ex-fire-fighter of 23 years I've seen some very serious accidents, so Ford Driving Skills for Life has my wholehearted support."

The car manufacturer confirmed this week (October 16th) that more than 500 people applied to take part in the sessions, which took place at the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester and ExCel in east London.

Feedback received from the 300 participants has been glowing and the majority said the training scheme had given them more confidence behind the wheel.

Manchester University student Ryan Harrison felt the three-day sessions were worthwhile.

"I've learned so much today, especially in the skid car, learning what I've done wrong in the past without realising it and where to put my hands on the wheel," he commented.

Ford launched Driving Skills For Life across Europe in June 2013 and has committed more than £1.2 million to the project.

The company aims to educate 5,000 novice drivers in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and France this year.

It has been running the courses for ten years in the US, providing more than 100,000 drivers with hands-on training.

Ford felt the time was right to bring the programme to the UK, as government figures had shown that car crashes remain one of the leading causes of death among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The scheme has been launched in Britain at an opportune time, as the government is considering making drastic changes to the driving test for 17 and 18-year-olds.

A report conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory recommended that a new system is introduced, where 17-year-olds must complete a "12-month learner stage" before being given a probationary licence.

Expert Opinion
DfT figures highlighted by the Transport Research Laboratory recently highlighted that giving younger drivers more training and experience would be welcome and, ultimately, any initiative based around improving general road safety must be a positive step.

"It is vital that all road users have the necessary skills to drive safely, as well as to keep passengers, other drivers and pedestrians safe from any potential harm.

"The consequences of road traffic collisions can be massive and it is vital that everything possible is done to promote the road safety message."
Stephen Nye, Partner