A driving academy set up by tyre manufacturer Goodyear Dunlop to give under-17s an early insight into life behind the wheel has been backed by the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, experienced the Goodyear Driving Academy whilst on a tour of Goodyear Dunlop’s Wolverhampton factory, where he also chatted to workers and apprentices and watched tyres being made. Rubber compound made in Wolverhampton is shipped to other Goodyear Dunlop factories and is used in most of the tyres made by the company in Europe.

After taking a short dual-controlled driving lesson himself, Gavin was impressed by how programmes such as Goodyear’s Driving Academy had the potential to make young motorists safer. Highlighting some of the problems faced by youngsters, he said: “One of the highest mortality rates on our roads is among young drivers. There are high premium insurance rates for younger drivers and as a result more of them are taking to the road without the required insurance.

“We’ve already heard about how getting youngsters used to a car before they turn 17 is having a direct impact on making sure they pass their test and then go on to safely drive their cars. Any death on our roads is one that needs to be avoided and if, through schemes like this, we can reduce the amount of youngsters having accidents and, sadly, fatalities then that is something we all want to be championing, especially Government.”

Kate Macnamara, communications manager at Goodyear Dunlop, added: “The Driving Academy was set up by Goodyear Dunlop and Young Driver with the purpose of improving road safety for all road users.

“It is sad that a fifth of all people killed or seriously injured on UK roads are in crashes involving a young driver. The best way to ensure younger motorists drive in a safer manner is to educate them and make them comfortable with being behind the wheel from an earlier age. That is what we hope to achieve at the Goodyear Driving Academy.”

The Goodyear Driving Academy was introduced in conjunction with training provider Young Driver and gives early training to schools across the UK. The academy combines online interactive education on the Highway Code with the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a dual-control car in an enclosed area with a Young Driver instructor.

For more information on the Goodyear Driving Academy, visit http://drivingacademy.goodyear.com