Bid to cut young road deaths in Shropshire

The fire and rescue service’s Risk Reduction Officer Kate Hancocks with David Carless, Chairman of the Shropshire IAM and motorist Michael Abbott (19) from Longden, Shrewsbury, at the re-launch of the young driver training scheme.

A driver training scheme aimed at saving the lives of young Shropshire drivers is being re-launched by county firefighters.

Advanced driver training techniques aim to equip young motorists with the skills to avoid a crash and stay safe on our roads.

Young drivers aged from 17 to 25– the age group involved in most accidents – can go on the driver training scheme run jointly by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Shropshire Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said that the scheme was set up because fire crews were deeply concerned at the numbers of death victims and severely injured people they had to cut out of wrecked cars after a crash.

David Carless, Chairman of the Shropshire Instittute of Advanced Motorists said: “During the first year of the scheme we have over 50 young men and women from all parts of the county who are at different stages of the course. Many have already successfully gone on to take their IAM test.”

Young drivers were at the Telford campus of the City of Wolverhampton University at the re-launch to meet community fire safety officers and firefighters from their local fire station. Having the re-launch at the university was a great opportunity to speak to young people and to fully demonstrate the benefits of the scheme, said Kate Hancocks, the fire service’s Risk Reduction Officer.

Student Michael Abbot (19), from Longden, Shrewsbury, who completed the IAM course while studying to be a physicist at Warwick university, said it was value for money and easy to fit in to a busy lifestyle.

“It really teaches you a lot about how to drive and how to read the road. Instead of waiting for the hazards to come to you, you actively predict the hazards before they happen.

“This is not like your L-test. It’s about the fun of driving and makes you safer as you are more aware of other road users and the road itself.

“Considering the course for young drivers is free, and if you pay to do the test, you'll get some great IAM offers such as cheaper insurance and breakdown cover,” said Michael who drives around 10,000 miles a year.

Mr Raymond who is president of the Shropshire IAM and responsible for road safety for the fire service, said: “Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked with the IAM to develop and promote this education scheme which operates from county fire stations. Hopefully we will see a reduction in deaths and injuries in our county as a result.”

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, with a valid MOT and must live, work or study in Shropshire. For more details visit The initiative gives them the chance to become full members of the IAM.

Those interested in taking part can also contact Shropshire Advanced Motorists at or call 0845 0945 650.

8th April, 2011