A NEW course is set to launch in Carlisle which will allow 10-year-olds to take part in driving lessons.

Young Driver, which provides driving lessons for 10 to 17-year-olds, will be running events at Carlisle Racecourse once a month, to begin with, from August.

The scheme will be making the most of the expansive space at the racecourse, which will be transformed into a realistic road system on selected weekend dates.

The first event will take place on Saturday, August 17.

Youngsters will be able to have lessons in new, dual-controlled Vauxhall Corsas, with approved driving instructors – with the aim of extending the learning period to create a safer next generation of newly qualified drivers.

A special road system will be created, with traffic signs, roundabouts and junctions, along with special areas to practice manoeuvres such as steering, control and parking.

The emphasis of the lessons is on safety and encouraging youngsters to consider how to drive responsibly, giving them time to perfect necessary driving skills without the pressures of public roads.

The announces comes as figures reveal that 400 people are killed in accidents involving young drivers every year in the UK.

Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers crashes within six months of passing their test, rising to 40 per cent of 17-year old males.

Only eight per cent of drivers are aged 17 – 24 and yet they account for a worrying 30 per cent of people who are killed in cars every year.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “We are really excited to be launching at such a great site. Carlisle Racecourse will give us a large space which we can use to create a realistic road system, creating different driving zones, and providing plenty of opportunities for youngsters to try out lots of different driving skills and techniques – whether they’re a beginner or have already had a few lessons with us.”

“Clearly something needs to be done to tackle the seriously high accident rates of our young drivers, as almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year.

“Research shows that training drivers over a longer period of time and catching youngsters when their attitudes towards driving are still developing is key to producing a safer driver.

“This allows youngsters to have a solid understanding of how to drive a car before they get anywhere near a real road – meaning when they do learn at 17 they can focus more on other road users and potential hazards.”

Upcoming dates for Young Driver to run at Carlisle Racecourse are August 17, September 22, October 19 and November 16.

For more information, visit www.youngdriver.com.