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9 June 2010, 08:11
Every year in the United Kingdom more than 647 people aged between 17 and 25 are either killed or seriously injured in road crashes.
Over confidence, poor hazard perception skills and general inexperience can all lead to making bad decisions and putting drivers' lives or the lives of others at risk.
To try and tackle these issues, 'Xccelerate', a comprehensive pre-driver training education programme, has been developed by Bedford Borough Council in conjunction with Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service.
Xccelerate is a thought-provoking programme that encourages responsible attitudes and behaviour whether as a driver or passenger in any vehicle and is targeted at pupils before they learn to drive. The day offers a selection of workshops including practical driving so young pre-drivers experience first hand what it's like to drive a car in a safe, controlled surroundings with a professional driving instructor.
Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Transport, said: "Far too many young people die on roads across the UK every year. However we can do much more to prepare young people for the challenges they will face when out on the roads.
"By spending time with young people before they start learning to drive I believe we can plant a seed to make sure they understand the great responsibilities that are upon them when they get behind the wheel.
"I am also grateful for the help given to us by Evan Halshaw, King Edward Cars, Three Shires Driving and the Bedfordshire Police collision investigation team in running these courses."
Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service Northern Area Commander, Tony Rogers, said: "All too often crews see at first hand the tragic consequences of road crashes.
"In fact, we rescue seven times as many people from road traffic incidents as we do from fires. A large number of these involve young drivers. One of our key priorities is working with young people to keep them safe, so we see this as a valuable project to support."
Xccelerate offers 16 and 17 year olds the opportunity to spend the day at the fire station learning how to be safe drivers. They get to experience being cut out of a car by fire fighers as a consequence of dangerous driving.
To book a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.