• Donnington Grove

West Berkshire scoops International Road Safety Award

Safer Roads Berkshire has received the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its DriveStart programme.

Cheryl Evans, West Berkshire Council’s Senior Road Safety Officer, collected the trophy from the Prince himself at a special ceremony in London. The nomination came from Road Safety Analysis. The council has been developing DriveStart as a young driver initiative since 2012. It utilises the latest behavioural science and social strategies to reduce risky decision making among our young road users. DriveStart ‘Experiences’ include practical support, hazard perception and simulated driving to improve perspectives and reduce behaviour and vulnerability which were putting young drivers at risk. It also tackles key topics such as Drink & Drug driving and mobile phone distraction.

Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Highways and Transport 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.” Steve Ferris, Programme Manager, Safer Roads Berkshire 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, Windsor & Maidenhead and Bracknell. There have also been expressions of interest from Brighton & Hove and Somerset.

If you are a young driver who would like to find out what it’s like to be behind the wheel, or you know someone who would like to take part, please get in touch to find out when the next DriveStart event will take place.