A message from Essex Police
In enabling your teenage son or daughter to enrol on this course, you will be taking the first step toward ensuring that he or she becomes a safe and responsible driver.
This scheme is supported by Essex Police. We believe that the IAM, and the driving instructors involved in this initiative, will greatly help parents to reduce the risk that their children face when they drive vehicles on the road. This will be especially true in the first few years, before the young people have gained valuable driving experience.
Statistics show that about half of all fatal or serious injury collisions in Essex are caused by drivers aged 17 to 24. Because of their lack of experience, new drivers take longer to assess hazards and, because of over-confidence in their driving skills, they often travel far too quickly for the conditions. Most young people pick up basic skills fairly easily but learning to drive is much more complicated, and this course will help them to do just that.
Parents who take an interest in the development of young drivers at an early stage give support to their children when learning basic skills prior to having to learn by experience on the road. Learning by experience alone can be costly.
Some young drivers, and their passengers, will be injured on our roads in future. Please do everything possible, with the agencies that are available to you, to reduce the risks. The first role models that young people usually have are their parents. You should remember to lead by example with your own driving, especially your attitude to other road users, and including your use of seat belts, appropriate speed, and use of alcohol prior to driving!
Once your child has passed the test please try to ensure that they continue to develop their driving experience. Their driving instructor will introduce them to 'Pass Plus' which covers many aspects of driving in addition to the basic requirements of the "L" test. Groups such as the IAM offer further packages that will develop the skills required for them to pass an Advanced Test.
The cost of these courses combined is very good value, probably far less than £200. They cover many of the skills learned by Police officers in their advanced driving training courses.
Sadly, Essex Police have often had to deal with the tragic results that can ensue when young people take their parents car without consent. But there are various things that you can do to monitor and prevent this from happening in your family. For example, make sure that you remember the position in which your car was parked, make a note of the mileage, monitor the level of fuel, etc. If you are suspicious talk to neighbours, or hide the keys.
I am sure that you will derive great pride and satisfaction in seeing your child acquire essential car control skills in a safe environment so that when they reach the age when they are permitted to drive on the public highway they can really develop their skills at avoiding the dangers on our roads. You will derive much pleasure when they pass their driving test. With your help, they will gain experience and will enjoy many years of safe driving.
Parents may also wish to refresh their own driving skills and courses are available through the IAM, or with a DSA instructor, to help you to become aware of the standards required of new drivers. Details of what is available will be made readily available to you.
Inspector Keith Whiting
Chelmsford Road Policing Unit