AA Charity wins road safety award

The AA Charitable Trust’s ‘Drive Confident’ wins Prince Michael international Road Safety Award

The AA Charitable Trust’s ‘Drive Confident’ wins Prince Michael international Road Safety Award

The AA Charitable Trust’s ‘Drive Confident’ wins Prince Michael international Road Safety Award

Development and promotion of a free driving course for rusty and nervous drivers has helped the AA Charitable Trust win a prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, announced at the Road Safety GB Conference in London on 14 November.

To celebrate the award, the AA Trust has committed to a further 2,000 free courses being made available from 14 November.

Drive Confident was launched in 2010 to help nervous, rusty or lapsed drivers get back behind the wheel with renewed confidence and competence. The courses have proved to be an innovative way of providing free, practical help for motorists who would otherwise have been unsafe on the roads, or would have given up driving. The courses are available free to any qualified driver in the UK who thinks they would benefit from refresher training and are taught by fully-qualified AA Driving School instructors.

A typical candidate might be a 65 year old recent widow who hadn’t driven for a number of years but needs to get back behind the wheel as she lives in a rural area.

Other applicants might be suffering from a phobia of motorways, flyovers, roundabouts or parking.

The promotion of the courses has also included a six-episode television programme, called Dangerous Drivers’ School, shown on Channel 5 in the autumn of 2011. A new series will be aired in the New Year.

Applicants can select which area of driving they would like to focus on in the two hour free training, for example motorways, night driving or even parking.

Customer feedback

The customer feedback survey of people who have taken Drive Confident shows:

  • 94% say the course has made them a more confident driver;
  • 86% say it has made them safer;
  • 71% will definitely drive more since doing the course;
  • 72% are now driving in situations they previously avoided, including (in order): car parks/parallel parking; busy roundabouts; urban driving; driving alone; motorways and night driving;
  • Both male and female drivers benefited, spanning all age groups.  Interestingly, the biggest group was females aged 31 to 40, followed by those aged 61 to 70.

Committed to continuing

The AA Charitable Trust is committed to continuing to provide Drive Confident courses to drivers, through the AA Driving School.

AA/Populus research has shown that nearly half (45%) of AA members believe they would benefit from a refresher driving course.

Lapsed drivers (93%) and older drivers (86%) are the most likely to benefit from training to improve confidence and refresh skills, AA members say.

Other AA research has shown that more than 5 million Britons, one in every six licence-holders, say they have taken a break from driving long enough to lose skills and confidence.

One in six motorists (16%) say they have stopped driving for three years or longer, including more than 70,000 who have avoided the roads for over 20 years. More than 600,000 say they have been away from the wheel for so long they are not sure they would remember how to drive.

The AA Charitable Trust also provides a free Drive Smart course for new or young drivers at risk.

The Prince Michael International Road Safety Award judges were truly impressed by the approach being taken by the AA Charitable Trust

Tony Spalding, chairman of the award scheme

Comment

Commenting on the award, Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “The aim of the AA Trust is to offer practical road safety help to drivers at risk. We are delighted that the innovative work of the Trust and in particular our Drive Confident courses have been recognised by winning this prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.”

Presenting the award, Tony Spalding, chairman of the award scheme added: “The Prince Michael International Road Safety Award judges were truly impressed by the approach being taken by the AA Charitable Trust in offering practical training solutions to everyday problems on the road. The free Drive Confident and Drive Smart courses have helped thousands of individuals and brought a degree of innovation to driver training. Now more will benefit.”


(14 November 2012)

Details of the Road Safety GB conference where the award will be presented and Edmund King, AA  President will give a presentation “Two Tribes: What drivers think about other road users?”

AA/Populus study of 22,713 AA members between 23rd and 29th October 2012

Picture (l-r) HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Lorna Catling, campaigns manager for the AA Charitable Trust, and Edmund King, president of the AA