Are you struggling to find a Christmas present for a young person in your family who has recently learnt to drive?

For £99 the Enhanced Pass Plus Scheme aims to help newly qualified drivers put safety first when they get behind the wheel in North Yorkshire.

Young drivers are the most at risk group in the country, with over 40 per cent of all car drivers killed on the roads aged between 16-29. Most newly qualified drivers are young drivers……. with better training the risks can be reduced and lives saved.

North Yorkshire County Council delivers the scheme on behalf of the 95 Alive York & North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership to help newly qualified drivers who live in the County. The course costs £174, but a special government funding grant means that the cost to young drivers (or their parents) in North Yorkshire is currently just £99.

Enhanced Pass Plus is based on a scheme run by the Driving Standards Agency, which aims to make newly qualified drivers safer by building on the skills they’ve learnt whilst preparing for their driving tests by learning to drive on Motorways and in city centres whilst accompanied by an experienced driving instructor. However, the North Yorkshire scheme differs from the original: for new drivers to qualify for the extra £75 partial government funding, they must also attend a New Driver Discussion Group where they can discover for themselves why newly qualified drivers crash, how to avoid being involved in a collision and to examine their own attitudes to risk taking and driving.

The programme has been evaluated by Brainbox Research from Leeds and shown to work – young drivers who completed the course were able to identify risks and understand how to avoid them significantly better than those who had not taken the training.

Approved Driving Instructors who register onto the scheme also have to go through a training course where they look at the causes of crashes involving newly qualified drivers; the way a driver’s attitudes and behaviour affect their driving and how to deliver effective training using coaching techniques. By using various scenarios the newly qualified drivers take ownership of the problem and then discover ways of dealing with those situations they encounter in a more positive way.

Andrew Santon, North Yorkshire County Council Road Safety Officer who helped devise the scheme said: “Pupils taking part in Enhanced Pass Plus will receive a £75 contribution we have secured from a government grant towards six training hours with a local and Approved Driving Instructor. On completion of the Pass Plus Course they may also receive a discount on their car insurance, but more importantly will have gained greater experience on a variety of roads and in conditions they won’t have encountered preparing for their driving test.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd, Executive member for Road Safety said: ”The whole point of this scheme is to take a step forward, to give new young drivers a more realistic idea of the risks and responsibilities of driving on our roads. To make putting safety first as automatic as putting on a seat belt and looking in the mirrors. The numbers of deaths and serious injuries on our roads has gone down but we need to make sure that continues, especially for our new young drivers. Enhanced Pass Plus has been proven to help equip newly qualified drivers with the information and experience they need to stay safe on the roads.”

Driver Training Officer David Clark, who helps train the instructors, said: ”I can still remember when I passed my driving test, looking back on the things I did I am quite surprised I am here today. As teenagers we all felt we were invincible and sadly sometimes it takes something to happen close to home to make us realise just how dangerous driving can be. I believe that this scheme addresses this need. As a parent myself I recommend it as a simple and effective extra way to help you to keep your young driver safe. What better present could you give?”