30 January 2004

Young drivers in Wales are being given the chance to improve their driving for free, and win a free car in the process. Some 2844 young people were killed or injured in road crashes on Welsh roads in 2002. The new initiative, supported by the Welsh Assembly, attempts to educate those young drivers and bring that figure down.

The Daewoo Young Driver Challenge, organised by the Road Safety Council of Wales (ROSCOW), is free to enter for 17-24 year-olds resident or in full-time education in Wales. Entry questionnaires are available from Daewoo dealers or Hill House Hammond offices throughout the principality. Interested parties can also enter online, at www.roscow.org.uk/challenge.

Having entered, applicants attend a driver training day. They take part in both theory and practical sessions given by trained instructors. Qualifiers from these initial sessions go forward to more intensive instruction and assessment carried out by examiners from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Eight finalists will then be selected to attend the ultimate event at the police driving headquarters in Bridgend on 27th June. The one who impresses most on that day will drive away in a ‘53’ registered Daewoo Matiz, complete with three years servicing, warranty and roadside cover, plus a year’s free insurance.

‘Sixty percent of road fatalities in South Wales last year involved the under 24,’ said Steve Barker, executive officer of ROSCOW. ‘Publicity and education hasn’t helped the situation. Young drivers need training – and this is what the challenge provides.’

Similar schemes have been run in other areas, notably in Lincolnshire. ‘I’m sure the government will use our scheme as a template for others in the future,’ said Barker.

Our Verdict

Toyota Avensis

The Toyota Avensis is adequate but generally underwhelming family transport

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