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Sergeant Paul Mountford from the Roads Policing Unit at Merseyside Police has picked up the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for making an ‘outstanding contribution to road safety,” on behalf of the ‘Engage’ scheme.

Engage is a scheme that originated in South Yorkshire and operates in the northwest by police and road safety officers from Merseyside and Cheshire.

The scheme aims to reduce the risks to novice drivers by raising their awareness of issues such as alcohol and drugs, peer pressure and distraction and encourages them to make independent decisions.

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This is done during their course of driving lessons, using driving instructors who have themselves received coaching from Ian Edwards, a leading expert in the field of coaching. Further coaching is provided by a website-based resource. This format is so successful that similar schemes are operating in Lewisham, Sussex, Somerset, Northamptonshire, Bath, Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

Sergeant Paul Mountford from Merseyside Police said: “Engage does not simply provide advice to novice drivers on these hugely important issues but provides them with the ability and confidence to deal with the situations when they drive solo. This client-centred-learning approach means that they are likely to remember the content, largely because they themselves identified the dangers and thought of the solution.”

Inspector Richard Hill from Cheshire Police said: “This scheme has the potential to significantly reduce the number of younger drivers involved in collisions in their first twelve months of driving “.

The Engage scheme provides driving instructors with special resources and training that will enable them to engage in discussion on the difficult road safety issues. Many instructors find it hard to introduce these into a lesson.

The scheme looks to help drivers to think ahead about these issues and how they will impact on their future driving performance.  It aims to help them to answer three simple but very important questions:

1. What makes me more at risk as a new / younger driver?
2. How will this issue impact on me personally?
3. What can I do to keep myself safe?

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“It is this final part that is so important,” said Sergeant Mountford.

“Many schemes simply say ‘do not give into the issue’, but often this is so much easier said than done – how does a driver say no to giving their friends a lift?  This scheme looks to give young drivers workable solutions to the real problems they face.”

he scheme is free and you can find your nearest instructor who is delivering the scheme by going to: www.engagedriving.co.uk

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