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The PCC has confirmed funding for an additional 1,000 places on the Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust’s Pathfinder Project.

The funding will ensure that the Under 17 Car Club will deliver the programme to young people (aged from 11-years-old) across the whole West Mercia area and beyond. The scheme, which has been established since 2008, will now be made available in three key locations twice each year (at Easter and October half-term). Those locations are near Worcester, Telford and Hereford.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “Around a third of the crashes on our roads involve young drivers. This is clearly too high and needs a new approach. Pathfinder has shown the improvements that can be made and I’m pleased to be extending the project in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire.

“Clearly my first priority is simply to keep everyone safe on our roads, prevent accidents ever happening and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured behind the wheel. However, this project is also a sound financial investment as well. Road accidents incur massive costs for our public and emergency services. If this project can prevent just one serious accident it will have paid for itself multiple times over by reducing demand on our police and NHS, and potentially our courts, probation or prison services as well.”

Paul Silverwood, President of the Under 17 Car Club, said: “This is a remarkable opportunity for the leading young driver charity to work alongside Police, Fire and other Road Safety professionals to really make a sustainable difference to safety on our roads.

“We will provide opportunities for young people and their families to get involved in driving in a safe environment and learn those critical life skills that will keep themselves and other road users safe, and we will do this by sharing the experience of our specialist instructor team and proven learning methods which have been developed over 40 years.”

Pathfinder is also supported by the Gloucestershire PCC and will launch in October this year in Yorkshire working with instructors from local IAMRoadsmart Groups.