Bid to cut young road deaths

Young driver Paul Jones helps to launch the new young driver scheme with Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond and David Carless, chairman of Shropshire IAM.

A campaign by firefighters to save the lives of young drivers on Shropshire roads has been launched with the help of the Shropshire Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Large numbers of young motorists aged from 17 to 24 – the age group involved in most accidents - have already signed up for the scheme which involves educating them in advanced driver techniques.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said that fire crews were deeply concerned at the numbers of dead, dying and severely injured people they had to cut out of wrecked cars after a crash.

"The head of a local 6th form asked me what we could do as he had recently been to two funerals of young people and he didn't want to go to any more.

"We decided to work with the IAM to develop this education scheme which will operate from county fire stations. We have already started to get large numbers of youngsters signing up and hopefully we will see a reduction in deaths and injuries in our county," said Mr Raymond who is president of the Shropshire IAM and responsible for road safety for the fire service.

Paul Jones (24), who drives 35,000 miles a year working in his family's Fairmitre windows and conservatory business, has just completed the IAM course.

"I drive a lot of miles in my job and I thought that as well as reducing insurance costs it was well worth it as it may one day save my life," said Paul, a former pupil at the Baschurch School who lives at Long Oak, West Felton, Oswestry.

Paul picked up some useful driving skills on the course and is now training to be an observer to help with the young driver scheme.

Robert Rondel, the fire service's Road Safety Technical Officer, said the idea was to give young drivers more skills to keep safe on the roads.

Drivers aged between 17 and 25 are eligible for the five hour advanced training which includes one hour in the classroom and four hours on road training. The theory sessions will be held at fire stations across the county.

To be eligible, young drivers must have their own car, be fully taxed and insured and with a valid MOT. For more details, visit - the initiative gives them the chance to become full members of the IAM.

26th November, 2009