Young drivers need better education, reckons ex-DSA boss
7 February 2007

Why are road crashes the single biggest killer of young people in the UK? It's a no-brainer, reckons Gary Austin, ex-head of the Driving Standards Agency and now boss of driving academy a2om.

Austin claims that a major cause of these crashes is the immaturity of the drivers' brains, which are not fully mature until they are 25 years old.

"We will only make young people safe on the roads by changing attitude and behaviour," said Austin. "There is not a problem with the actual mechanics of driving; it is the young drivers’ immaturity that is causing the crashes."

While we can't exactly see this endearing Austin to his potential pupils, a2om has already attracted clients including the prestigious Harrow School. a2om's course, which is affiliated with Cranfield University in the UK, aims to provide significantly more education than is standard before young drivers even get behind the wheel.

“If we can exercise young drivers’ brains and accelerate development of the brain using neuroscientific stimulation techniques, then they will respond to driving situations in a more mature way and the number of crashes involving them will reduce,” reckons Austin.

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But don't worry – the "neuroscientific stimulation techniques" don't involve attaching electrodes to your frontal lobes – instead there's around 100 hours of mental exercises, in-car teaching, on-line sessions and classroom discussions for six to nine months before the driving test. Successful candidates then get six hours of post-test instruction, including on the motorway, and insurance discounts through Royal & SunAlliance.

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