Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Catch the Kid Drivers Early

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Catch the Kid Drivers Early

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Hughes

Imagine new research revealing that a quarter of all 14 year-olds burgle houses and we invite them to take part in burgling courses run by serial criminals.

Or that one in 10 nine-year-olds is an arsonist, so we give them some professional pyrotechnic advice.

Believe it or not, this is allegedly the situation we face with under-age drivers, and that is precisely how we are intending to tackle the problem.

A new survey commissioned by the organisers of the UK's 2004 Motor Show claims that one in four children under 15 admits to knowing a friend who has driven a car illegally.

The figure rises to one in three among 14-15s. Even one child in 10 under nine claims to have a friend who has driven a car illegally, and 17% of children interviewed say that they or their friends have been involved in an accident while driving illegally.

Amazingly, the organisers of the Motor Show are said to believe that the answer to the problem is to invite children as young as 14 to take part in simulated driving, and then to actually drive a car on an adjoining circuit.

Having gained a taste for it, the youngsters will then apparently be quite happy to wait another three years before taking to the roads legally.

If that is the case, then what on earth is the point of it all, you may well ask. Well, if you are the driving school behind it, you will claim that it has safety benefits by teaching the youngsters the impending dangers.

If, on the other hand, you are a cynic you may take the more realistic view that it has more to do with drumming up business on the basis of getting them while they are young.

Hopefully, in another three years it will be your driving school they attend for those final pre-test lessons, having experienced some serious product branding when they were at a particularly-impressionable age.

The show is now called Motor Show Live, because of some interactive stuff there, and it is to be hoped that it brings a reversal to its fortunes. …

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