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Young farmers ask minister to include rural roads in driving tests

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THE National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs has called for rural roads to be included in the national driving test at a meeting with the Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond MP.

NFYFC Chairman Milly Wastie met with the minister to discuss the federation’s new rural road safety campaign Drive it Home, which is supported by NFU Mutual, and to highlight the issues affecting young people who live and work in rural communities.

Statistics show that rural young drivers are 37% more likely to have an injury collision on a rural road than those who live in an urban area.

The NFYFC also discussed with the Minister the possibility of introducing a national scheme where young drivers could gain further driving certificates following on from their initial test. As a result of the meeting, the NFYFC has been offered opportunity to input into future Government consultation on road safety.

The NFYFC campaign, called Drive it Home, launched in November last year and aims to reduce the number of incidents involving young drivers. The majority of NFYFC’s 24,000 members live and work in rural communities putting them in a high risk category for incidents on rural roads. The lack of public transport links in many of these areas mean many NFYFC members have little option but to start driving young.

The campaign is being supported by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual to create hundreds of rural driving ambassadors who can speak to young people in their own language and inspire a generation of drivers about the inherent risks and responsible driving skills needed on rural roads.

National chairman of NFYFC Milly Wastie said: “Statistics show those who live in a rural area are more likely to be involved in a road collision than our urban counterparts so our campaign is aimed at educating our members – and other young drivers – about the dangers on rural roads.

“The driving test needs to reflect the area in which you live and work and young drivers need to be proficient in handling the different challenges of rural driving.

“We were delighted to meet with the Road Safety Minister to discuss the road safety concerns that affect young people who live and work in rural communities. We welcome his support towards our campaign and hope the Government are able to address some of the issues we raised.”

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond MP said: “Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the government so I am pleased to support the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs new campaign.

“We are looking at several ways to make the roads safer for young drivers, including making the driving test more realistic and considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test. We are also working with young people, the insurance industry, and other key partners to identify what more can be done to ensure that newly qualified drivers are properly prepared and drive safely.

“I wish NFYFC every success with their campaign.”

The Drive it Home campaign is:

* Working with road safety charity Brake to deliver road safety training, based on Brake’s 2young2die campaign, to at least one representative from each county in the Federation in England and Wales and create Drive it Home Champions who will become ambassadors in their local communities and peer groups for safer driving

* Working with advanced driving company Drive Doctors to offer members bespoke courses so they can practice driving in challenging conditions and learn in a fun and interactive environment with young racing drivers. As well as off-roading sessions and wet grip activities ­– the sessions are tailored to appeal to young drivers who are encouraged to use their own cars on the circuit to simulate real-life scenarios

* Ensuring that all 644 Young Farmers’ Clubs deliver some form of road safety awareness training in 2013.

* Working with Road Safety Analysis to carry out further research to better understand the common causes of crashes involving rural young drivers and investigate differing regional trends.

For more information about the Drive it Home campaign, visit www.nfyfc.org.uk/driveithome or facebook.com/driveithomeyfc.

 
 
 

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