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West Berkshire road safety initiative receives royal recognition

DriveStart team receive award from Prince Michael

Chris Ord

chris.ord@newburynews.co.uk

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West Berkshire road safety initiative receives royal recognition

A WEST Berkshire road safety initiative has received royal recognition at a special ceremony in London.

Safer Roads Berkshire received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its DriveStart programme, which aims to educate and improve young drivers.

Representatives from West Berkshire Council, which has helped develop and run the programme, collected the trophy from Prince Michael of Kent himself at the recent ceremony.

Executive member for highways and transport, Jeanette Clifford, said: “We are immensely proud that West Berkshire is part of the brilliant team behind DriveStart, winner at this year’s Prince Michael Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the international road safety community.

“DriveStart is a superb project that prepares our young people for the freedom and fun of driving by helping them become careful, confident and responsible on the road.

“It gives them precious hands-on experience and practical guidance in a realistic but safe setting – so much better than just taking to the highways without any training, a worry for many parents and carers.

“This ground-breaking scheme demonstrates how ambitious we are about road safety – and the award proves we are capable of leading the field.”

The scheme has been running since 2012 and employs the latest behavioural science and social strategies to help young road users reduce risky decision making.

DriveStart also tackles key topics such as drink and drug-driving and mobile phone distraction.

Safer Roads Berkshire programme manager Steve Ferris said: “DriveStart is an innovative, evidence-based intervention and offers a new approach to pre-driver education.

“We have seen significant improvement in all areas measured which shows that the young people taking part in DriveStart are less likely to behave in a risky manner on the roads.

“We are delighted to be able to report this success and would like to thank everyone involved in the design of DriveStart for their hard work and diligent evaluation.”

DriveStart is already being replicated in Wokingham and in 2018 there will some trials in Slough, Bracknell and Windsor and Maidenhead. There have also been expressions of interest from Brighton and Hove and Somerset.

For more information on DriveStart visit http://drivestart.co.uk/contact/ 

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