Parents call for driving to be part of the National Curriculum

As hundreds of young motorists continue to die every year in horrific crashes, worried parents are now calling for driving skills to be taught as part of the National Curriculum, according to a new survey.

While the Government is preparing to publish a Green Paper this autumn on issues surrounding young drivers, many parents now believe that children even as young as 11 should be taught driving theory in a bid to save lives when they eventually pass their test.

Department of Transport figures show that nearly a fifth of all car occupants killed or seriously injured in 2011 were young drivers. Out of the 1,550 young people aged 17 to 24 involved in serious accidents more than 400 died. The figures for 2012 are due to be released in September.

A survey, commissioned by Goodyear, has revealed that many parents are concerned about the entire process of teaching a child to drive and are particularly keen for young driver education to be brought into schools.

Goodyear’s research also revealed that more than half of parents would be happy to let their children have extra driver training or lessons before they reach the age of 17 while only 21% believe the current driving test sufficiently prepares youngsters to drive on their own.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear brand manager, said: “Forty three per cent of parents believe a way to stop youngsters being killed on our roads is through the Government making early driving education part of the National Curriculum.

“We launched our Driving Academy programme at the start of 2012 to teach children about road safety focusing on the Highway Code. The Academy puts their knowledge to the test using an interactive online tool followed by educating them behind the wheel with a trained instructor who shows them the basics of driving in their school playground.  By teaching safer driving at a younger age, this revolutionary initiative has the potential to save hundreds of lives each year.

“Our approach is very much about prevention rather than cure – instead of placing restrictions on young drivers, which could simply delay bad behaviour, we are trying to address road-user attitudes and driving behaviour through education to fundamentally change the young driver experience for the better.”

The Goodyear Driving Academy is a unique scheme that combines theory with a practical element as youngsters actually get behind the wheel of a car.  It is run in partnership with Young Driver, specialists in teaching youngsters aged under 17 to drive.

Motoring journalist and former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson said: “We know that children are more receptive to information at an earlier age and by starting this crucial education early, we reduce the number of teenagers rushing through their test at 17 to impress their friends.”