YOUNG would-be motorists who have gone through a driving tuition project supported by Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) appear to be more than four times safer than those who do not.

The latest figures supplied by Pathfinder, the charity which runs courses funded by the county’s PCC Martin Surl, suggest its graduates have an accident rate of one in 17 (six per cent), compared with one in four (25 per cent) nationally.

“Although the sample is relatively small, these are very encouraging figures and suggest The Pathfinder Project delivers substantial benefits to its students”, said Mr Surl.

“The danger with an issue like this is to get carried away with statistics and overlook the scale of the misery and suffering behind them. However, when you consider that nearly one in three killed or seriously injured on our roads is under the age of 25 and that more than a quarter of 17 to 19-year-olds crash within a year of passing their driving test, anything that reverses that trend is to be welcomed.”

Pathfinder courses are generally held twice a year in Gloucestershire and are funded through the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan which has safe and social driving as one of its six priorities.

Regular reports are a condition of the funding.

Pathfinder Director John Beckford said, “Whilst it’s true that we have only started working with the Commissioner recently, these findings are consistent with our previous surveys and support our view that appropriately structured and delivered pre-licence driver development, delivers significant safety benefits to this vulnerable group.

“We believe that the consistency in findings is rooted in the consistency of our methods, which focus on developing appropriate attitudes as well as technical skill and are subject to rigorous scrutiny.

“The number of students who have so far participated in the programme in Gloucestershire is small but it’s hoped these early results will encourage more to take part."