AA Drive Smart

Police join AA in scheme to tackle teenage road carnage

14 May 2009

Police will put forward young drivers for 'drive smart' training

The AA has teamed up with Police to tackle teenage road deaths in a scheme that will see at-risk drivers targeted with free driver safety training.

Police will identify young drivers whose record suggests they are a danger to themselves and others, and put them forward for Drive Smart training courses developed by the new AA Charitable Trust1.

The scheme, launched today in North Wales, will target new drivers "most at risk"2 who have passed their test in the last year and have had accidents or points on their licence. The AA is working with other Police forces with a view to rolling out the scheme across the UK. The AA Charitable Trust will be funding at least 2,000 free courses across the country.

Developed specifically to help new drivers, Drive Smart training involves two hour-long sessions with a fully-qualified instructor from AA Driving School. The initiative, which has the support of transport ministers, focuses on improving safety as well as 'eco-driving' techniques to cut fuel consumption.

Police will approach young drivers with a history of accidents or offences such as speeding, driving without seatbelts and using mobile phones while driving to nominate them for training.


The charity's director and AA president Edmund King says: "Driving causes more teenage deaths than stabbings or drugs, with new drivers and their passengers accounting for one in five car deaths. By working with Police to target those who are the biggest risk we can start to tackle this carnage.

"Drive Smart can help those most at risk to become safer, more responsible drivers – reducing the danger they present to themselves and others on our roads."

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Shannon, of North Wales Police, says:

"North Wales Police is delighted to be the first force to working along side the AA to ensure Drive Smart is a success. Young drivers, particularly those with a poor driving record, are at most risk of being involved in a collision in which someone will die or be seriously injured. By targeting training at the right people, we will save lives."

New drivers

  • One in five new drivers have a crash within 12 months of passing their test
  • In 2007, 1086 drivers under 20 years of age were killed or seriously injured – and 1426 aged 20 to 24 were also killed or seriously injured
  • The majority were male. 821 under 20s and 1025 20 to 24s were male
  • 138 drivers aged under 20 died and 258 drivers aged 20 to 29 also died
  • Under 25s are also three times as likely per licence holder to have a drink drive accident
  • A young driver is 10 times more likely to be involved in a serious collision than a more experienced driver
  • Newly qualified drivers and their passengers account for one in five of all car deaths
  • Teenagers are more likely to die on the roads than from stabbings or drugs

New drivers can also put themselves forward, or be put forward by their parents, for free Drive Smart courses. Priority will be given to young drivers at risk on the roads. Those interested in applying should go to www.theaa.com/drive-smart.


1The AA Charitable Trust for Road Safety and the Environment was launched in January 2009.

2The charity's first target is new drivers "most at risk", which the Department for Transport advises is those who have passed their test in the last 12 months and have had an accident or points on their licence.

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14 May 2009