Foundation links up with TeenDrive to provide road safety awareness course.One of the UK’s largest police forces has given its backing to a North East project aimed at improving driver safety among young people, even before they take to the road.
Northumbria Police, which covers more than 2000 square miles between the Scottish borders and County Durham, has signed up to sponsor the road safety awareness programme being run by North East charity the Foundation of Light and specialist driving school TeenDrive.
The scheme, which launched in 2012, is open to young and aspiring drivers aged 14 to 17 and aims to instil good practice at an early stage.
PC Mick Crowe from Northumbria Police said: “More than half of road deaths are associated with inappropriate actions by drivers, such as speeding, careless driving or driving while distracted.”
“Northumbria Police is supporting the safety scheme run by the Foundation of Light and TeenDrive as part of its proactive approach to targeting drivers who are most at risk of these behaviours, including young drivers who often lack the necessary experience to fully understand safe practices.”
The road safety course, which runs primarily at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, incorporates four classroom-based sessions, including one led by officers from Northumbria Police’s traffic team, which cover topics such as speeding, driving under the influence and the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
It also includes six practical sessions, where participants are given the chance to get behind the wheel– many for the first time – and learn how to handle a car in a safe and controlled manner.
Craig Ramshaw, who owns TeenDrive and runs the course for the Foundation of Light, said: “The road safety course has already had a huge impact on the young people involved and I’m delighted our efforts to reduce accidents among young drivers are now being recognised and supported by Northumbria Police.”
More than 30 young people have already successfully completed the 10-week course, with Brad Ellemore being among the most recent graduates.
The 18 year-old from Sunderland, said: “I’m planning on starting driving lessons soon and this road safety course was a great way of increasing my confidence and developing some basic skills in preparation for that.”
SAFC’s official charity, The Foundation of Light, helps more than 42,000 young people and families across the North East every year, through a wide range of sport and education-based activities.
The road safety course, which is free for participants, forms part of the charity’s Kicks programme, designed to help teenagers from across the North East to reach their full potential.
Other projects run by the programme include lifeguarding with the RNLI, fire safety with the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Phoenix Project, anti-social behavior and drug awareness with the Northumbria Police and Sea Angling with Fishing North East.
Kicks Co-ordinator Ian Corner, said: “The road safety course has proven extremely successful so far and we’re delighted that its merits have now been recognised by Northumbria Police.”
For more information about the road safety scheme or other programmes being run by the Foundation of Light’s Kicks team, please contact Ian Corner at email@example.com