Early learning lowers accident rate by 84%

New research has found that drivers who have undertaken pre-17 driving lessons are 84% less likely to have an accident in the critical first six months after passing their driving test.

Young Driver, the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, questioned 450 past pupils who turned 17 in the last three years about any accidents they’d had since passing their driving test.

Its survey found that compared to a national average of 20%, just 3.3% of Young Driver past pupils had crashed their car in the most dangerous first six month period after passing their test.

Almost nine out of 10 (87%) thought starting to learn before 17 had made them a safer driver, while 94% of parents believed it had also made them a safter pedestrian and cyclist, with a greater understanding of hazard awareness,

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “Our scheme was launched 13 years ago on the back of Swedish research which showed that teaching children how to drive before 17 made them safer drivers. Our research with past pupils consistently shows the same – a dramatically reduced accident rate for those who have had early driver training.

“There are several reasons for that. Firstly, we’re teaching youngsters over a longer period of time, and without the pressure or urgency to pass their test. They can take their time and really get to grips with the skills needed. Those skills then become second nature, so by the time they’re 17 they can use their lessons to focus on more nuanced aspects of driving, such as hazard awareness and dealing with other road users.

“Another reason teaching youngsters in a safe environment at an earlier age works well is that they’re often more receptive to safety messages at that age. Eight out of 10 parents (82%) agree that their children are more receptive to road safety concepts at an earlier age.”