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Drivers as young as 10 get behind the wheel at Norfolk showground in new road safety drive

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 December 2017

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

For most youngsters, playing a racing game on their computer is the closest they can get to getting behind the wheel of a car.

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

But children as young as 10 have now been given the chance to drive cars for real at the Norfolk Showground as part of a new road safety drive.

Young Driver Training set up a specially-designed course at the Costessey-based site on Saturday (December 9) to give them a chance to drive in a safe but realistic environment.

The company has run the training – which starts at a cost £34.95 for lessons – across the country in a bid to reduce the death and injury rate of young drivers, with statistics showing one in five newly-qualified drivers are involved in an accident within six months of getting their full licences.

It believes that if young people get behind the wheel of a car earlier in life, it will make them more safety conscious when they start learning to drive for real.

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A total of 30 youngsters took part in the 60-minute courses which have been given the green light by parents.

Shaun Davey, 45, from the Thorpe Hamlet area of Norwich, brought son Alfie, 11, along to have a go. He said: “It was a birthday present for Alfie and he enjoyed himself. It’s just getting him introduced to cars.”

Alfie, a Lionwood Junior School pupil, said: “I really enjoyed it.”

Gary Cork, 52, who took his 16-year-old daughter Lucy, was also delighted with the scheme.

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Instructor Ernie Griffiths with Alfie Skerritt, 11, from Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He said: “I think it’s brilliant to let the kids know how to handle a car before they drive on the road.”

Grant Crockart, 48, from Wymondham, took his son, Adam, 14, to have a go.

He said: “I think it’s a great idea. This is an experience for him - he loves cars. This will be his first time behind the wheel.

“I think it’s a good thing for him to get in a car to experience a drive in that controlled environment.”

Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Driving lessons being given to young drivers at Norfolk Showground. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chris Reid, team manager at Young Driver Training, said the response had been “excellent”, with the course fully booked.

He said: “Parents have been really positive and they can see the benefits of what we’re trying to achieve in terms of road safety and providing them practical experience in a controlled environment about safer driving.”

For more information, to book a lesson or to buy vouchers visit www.youngdriver.com or call 0844 371 9010.

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