By Denna Bowman
Pirelli tyres have joined the controversial Young Driver Training initiative, which aims to teach under-17-year-olds how to drive, as an official sponsor.
The tyres manufacturer has just joined fellow sponsores SEAT and Admiral Insurance, however the course has run into criticism by the police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Dominic Sandivasci, managing director of Pirelli Tyre Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to be able to demonstrate our commitment to improving road safety through our involvement in the Young Driver initiative.
“The Pirelli name is synonymous with the high performance and safety characteristics of its products, and as part of our extensive Corporate Social Responsibility programme we are keen to support organisations that share our goal of making the road a safer place.”
The training takes place off-road, at designated centres. However, Insp Alan Jones, of the Police Federation, dismissed the scheme.
He said: “Driving on one of these courses at 11 years old, it’s another six years until you can get a driving licence. How does it replicate the real world, the spontaneous incidents?
“Are kids mature enough at 11, 12, 13 years old to understand what’s happening on the roads, to be able to manage all the demands and pressures? I’m not persuaded it’s a good idea.”
Kevin Clinton, of RoSPA, said: “While early education is a very good thing, the same does not apply to driving a car.
“It will probably mean youngsters will take fewer lessons when they come to learn to drive and if they take fewer lessons they will get less experience. That means when they pass their test they may be at greater risk of crashing because they won’t have had as much experience when they are supervised.”