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OPCC funded young driver scheme hits milestone

Following a successful roll-out at Sixth Form Colleges across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in September 2017, an innovative programme to educate young drivers is marking its first anniversary.

Delivered by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership, Cambs Drive iQ provides young people with a virtual experience of different driving situations, preparing them to become better and safer drivers once they have passed their test. It improves the skills often neglected by young drivers, such as anticipating danger and risk management.

Students are asked to complete modules on topics such as distractions, alcohol and drugs, seatbelts and thrill seeking, each taking about fifteen minutes.

The programme is now being operated in eighteen schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with over 1,500 students signing up to take part.

The programme was made possible thanks to a £67,000 grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Road Safety Casualty Reduction and Support Fund. The scheme is supported by Casualty Reduction Officer Jon Morris, whose post is also funded by the Commissioner.

The scheme was nationally recognised at the 2018 ‘FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety awards’ ceremony, winning the ‘Best Education and Training Initiative’ category and being highly commended in the ‘Best Partnership Scheme’ category.

Cambs Drive iQ was described by the judges as a ‘truly excellent programme’ which is ‘evidence based and real world orientated’.

Students have access to more than 120 video scenarios filmed on local roads in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

A recent competition in which students who completed the scheme were entered into a prize draw, saw pupils from across the county winning prizes, including young people from Sawtry Village Academy, Wisbech Grammar School and Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough.

Commenting on the success, Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said:

“I am delighted see Drive iQ being so well received by young people across the county. This platform engages with young people from the start, preparing them for the potential challenges they may face whilst driving. It’s a good way to influence attitudes towards driving in a classroom environment and should arm our young drivers with everything they need to know to stay safe on the roads.”

Casualty reduction officer, Jon Morris, added: “DriveiQ enables us to provide young drivers with advice and support on staying safe on the county’s roads. We know young people can be a vulnerable age group on the roads and want to do everything we can to provide them with the skills they need to be safe drivers, protecting themselves and other road users.”

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chair of the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Mathew Shuter said: “Drive iQ offers a great opportunity to educate and influence young people, equipping them with the attitude and ability they need to keep both themselves and others safe while driving on our local roads.”