Martin Evans and Tony Gilbert from Bristol Advanced Motorists Group, IAM, were warmly welcomed to the group to talk about Wheels, Skills & Thrills Part 2. They had visited our group a few years back to talk about Part 1.
History – Prof. Alan Tapp, University of the West of England, obtained funding from a government grant via the Road Safety Trust. Funds come from all the speeding camera fines, and £250k was awarded to Wheels, Skills & Thrills.
This is a research project in essence staffed by four academics, including those from UCL, Loughborough and TRL.
Part 1 focussed on young male drivers in the 18-25 age group, from poorer areas as they have a higher incident rate than the national average. From Part 1, there were 40 that started; 22 completed; 9 took the whole course and passed. Three of the men went onto take their Advanced Driving course with IAM. One of the young men, who did not complete the course, died later on due to a wheel bearing failure; he had attended the karting event which was the incentive to get them to come along, but that was his only attendance on the course.
There were 6 sessions where the men would be treated like adults and shown how to drive. Each driver would be assessed over the coming weeks and sessions to see how they had improved.
In their own cars, a black box would be placed, monitoring their speed. At the start of the course the number of events was quite high. As expected, over the period of the 6 sessions, these events dropped; for the most part. Some did increase.
The road course took place south of Bristol. The IAM volunteers assessed the drivers, then showed them how to do it properly! Think this surprised the lads that older chaps can drive better than them.
From Part 1, invaluable lessons were learned and these were put into practice for Part 2.
Part 2 – become more scientific with a SatSafe box put into the specially bought and modified training car, a Ford Fiesta ST monitoring events that exceeded 3G. Seven advanced driving tutors were selected with the right temperament, and coaching was considered more important than a black box.
Part 2 is going through Stage 1 for which there are 40 participants. There is a Driver Training Plan over six 50-minute sessions. Each session has a particular emphasis:
- Concentration & Observation
- Anticipation & Planning
- Putting it all together
- Night driving and a social evening (pizza, no alcohol!)
With the project car and the installed satsafe makes the collection of statistics more objective. Every participant gets to drive the project car. The car also has three cameras, front, rear and observing the driver. There are additional cameras in the footwell, one looking over the shoulder and an expensive data logger in the boot.
What is the purpose of the project?
With the higher than average incident/death rate in young men, the team want to prove that intervention works and then once this is proven develop into a package to roll out nationally.
They hope to sell the course to insurance companies.
Fingers crossed for them this goes well. Thanks to Martin and Tony for an enjoyable evening.