Pass Plus Cymru, Abergavenny Fire Station

September 2009

Amongst the Pass Plus-ers, for the first time in Monmouthshire, two brothers signed up together for Pass Plus Cymru (PPC) – not so much sibling rivalry for Ashley and Ieuan John, as sibling encouragement.

It could be said that people who sign up for PPC don’t see the driving test as the end of their training...
...A Driving Examiner was heard talking about a teenager who had just driven an almost perfect test. "He made his only mistake," said the driver tester, "when he stopped to let me out of the car." After breathing a sigh of relief, the teenager exclaimed: "I'm sure glad I don't have to drive like that all the time!"

This highlights the point that, generally, young drivers learn the basic skills of driving very quickly and with one intention – to pass their driving test. After that, it could be said the “law of the concrete jungle” prevails.

BRAKE, the road safety charity says “one in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test.” This fact is the very reason drivers are encouraged in Monmouthshire to take a (PPC) course.

The young drivers shared their experiences which added weight to the fact that young drivers are involved in a disproportionately high occurrence of collisions.

One young driver, “Josh”, gave his own very honest account in his personal story. As a result of a speeding incident, he had a near-fatal collision just two weeks after passing his test

“I thought I was the boy”, Josh said. “Knew what I was about. I’d passed the test and that’s it”.

Like many others in hindsight, he admitted to feeling wiser after such a close call.

But the action wasn’t just taking place inside the Fire Station. While the PPC workshop was going on, the Young Fire Fighters were being put through their paces outside.

Strange to think that if they do join the Fire Service, a big part of their job won’t be fire fighting, but attending Road Traffic Collisions, just like the one Josh had.


Megadrive – Usk College 2009

Now in its 15th year, Megadrive is almost as old as the students who take part in these pre-driver training workshops.

Megadrive’s customary tour of tertiary colleges has enabled hundreds of students to engage with many aspects of driving and, importantly, what to expect as new drivers.


  • Can they respond responsibly at the scene of a collision?

  • Do they know what the driving test involves?

  • And once they get a licence, can they hold on to it?

  • Are they aware of what can impair their driving?  - distractions, peer pressure, substance misuse?

There is a team of experts on hand who can help them answer these questions:

  • South Wales Fire and Rescue

  • The Red Cross

  • Driving Standards Agency.

  • Fusion and Drug Aid

  • Theory Test computer programme

  • Driving Instructors - Practical Driving Session

  • Road Safety

99 students from Usk College have been added this year to the long list of students who have taken part in Megadrive before them.  

The students taking part at Usk were from a wide range of disciplines - Land Based, Life Skills as well as Public Services.  Megadrive offers them something which will enhance any scheme of study and will set them on the road to being safer young drivers.


Great Drive For Apprentices!


Pass Plus Cymru ChevronA group of Chevron apprentices have been given the opportunity to improve their driving skills. Aided by Pembrokeshire County Council's road safety team, the 37 apprentices took part in a driving course as part of the oil company's recent annual safety week.

The Pass Plus Cymru Course involves a two-and-half hour driving theory session and a nine hour shared drive with an approved Pass Plus Cymru driving instructor. It also includes motorway driving, city driving and a revision of driving skills.

Chevron is amongst the first companies in Wales to use Pass Plus Cymru to improve the driving skills of its young apprentices.

"Pembrokeshire County Council and Chevron encourage young drivers to take this course because a high percentage of those involved in national and local road traffic collisions are in this age group," said Councillor Jamie Adams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning.

"We are, therefore, keen to improve young people's driving skills."

The Welsh Assembly Government sponsors the Pass Plus Cymru course programme through the local road safety grant, while Chevron also contributes 50% towards the cost of the scheme.

Any local driver aged between 17 and 25 can undertake the course provided they have a full licence. Subsidised by the Council, it costs participants £20.

For further information on Pass Plus Cymru Courses in Pembrokeshire contact either the Council's road safety unit on 01437 775144 or 0845 050 4255.


The Megadrive scheme was originally set up in Gwent in 1995 to address the very serious problem of young drivers being involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes, largely because of their inexperience. Megadrive is delivered to college age students who will be planning on sitting their practical driving test in the not too distant future and may not be aware of all the potential hazards that come with driving on British roads.

Students participating in Megadrive visit "interactive workstations" in groups of three where they learn vital information on driving related topics. These include:

hazard awareness
essential documents
crash causation
effects and consequences of drink and drugs
buying a new or second hand car
what to do at the scene of a crash

Year after year the workstation that proves to be the most popular is when the students get the opportunity to get into the drivers seat. They are given the opportunity to drive around a special course in a late model Vauxhall Corsa whilst accompanied by an approved driving instructor. This often gives the students their first taste of what being behind the wheel is really like.

“Megadrive opens young people’s eyes to the huge responsibility of being a driver. Even the most street-wise are surprised at how much they have to learn to be a good driver.” Penny Thorpe, Principal Road Safety Officer, Capita Symonds Road Safety Team.

Megadrive dates 2009

6-9 October Coleg Gwent Pontypool
13-15 October Ystrad Mynach College
20-22 October Coleg Gwent Newport

Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC - As above, although organised in Senior Schools in conjunction with Community Safety.


Megadrive is also held in the following areas (dates to be confirmed):

Ceredigion CC

Carmarthen CC


CSI Cymru (Crash Scene Incident)

CSI Cymru GwyneddThe CSI Cymru Road Safety Initiative in Gwynedd is a product developed in partnership between Gwynedd Council, North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The initiative includes an exhibition of a crashed vehicle with dummy casualties.

Geared towards pupils aged 15/16 years, a tour of Year 11 of all Secondary Schools within Gwynedd is underway at present.

It has been developed in order to make the pupils aware of the responsibility and the respect required in being a road user, especially a motor vehicle driver or passenger. It has been designed to change attitudes and behaviour prior to them becoming drivers. The pupils are 12 months away from being provisional driving licence holders and it is hoped that delivering the initiative at this time will encourage the young people to be responsible when driving, not only for themselves, but the passengers they are carrying and other road users sharing the road space.

The initiative came about due to the high percentage of young road users being killed and seriously injured on Welsh Roads.

During 2006, 617 drivers aged 18 were involved in collisions, they accounted for almost two-fifths (39%) of all drivers aged under 20 who were involved in crashes. Within these collisions 389 (14%) were male young drivers and the collisions were either fatal or serious. Young female drivers within the same period were involved in 117 (9%) of fatal or serious crashes.

During this period Gwynedd’s Collision statistics for drivers under the age of 25 were as follows: 6 Fatal, 20 Serious and 128 Slight Casualties.


New Look for Pass Plus Cymru

August 2007

Hundreds of visitors to the Royal Welsh Show and National Eisteddfod have received information regarding Pass Plus Cymru; the scheme, an enhanced version of the DSA’s standard Pass Plus Course, allows young drivers (aged between 17- 25 and living in Wales) to discover more driving techniques, hints and tips for just £20.

Pass Plus promoters at the National Eisteddfod
Pass Plus Cymru promoters at the National Eisteddfod

A new series of publicity material has been designed to promote the ever-growing national scheme. The bilingual resources include leaflets, posters and credit card sized information for distribution by Approved Driving Instructors.

The supporting website www.dragondriver.com will shortly undergo a makeover to reflect the new design style.


Innovation Award for Road Safety Partnership

March 2007

Close partnership working between Wrexham County Borough Council's Road Safety Section and White Watch, Wrexham of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has resulted in an award winning initiative. The roadshow graphically demonstrates the types of injuries that can be sustained during a collision at low speed, without the trauma of the actual experience.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service have recognised the value and potential of this initiative and have awarded the partners a Community Award for Innovation. Paul Scott, Watch Manager, White Watch, Wrexham said

"We are please to receive the award on behalf of all members of White Watch, Wrexham. We are delighted that the partnership has proved to be a success and we will continue to work together to reduce road traffic collisions in the area."

Funding from the Welsh Assembly Government enabled the scheme to develop and now due to its success the Wrexham initiative is being replicated in other Authorities within Wales.

Wendy Davies-Williams, Assistant Road Safety Officer with Wrexham County Borough Council said

"The initiative visually demonstrates the consequences of a collision and can be adapted to deliver specific messages to a variety of audiences. This enables the Officers who present the show the opportunity to give advice on all aspects of in-car safety as well as remind drivers of the need to drive safely and responsibly."

For further information contact: Wendy Davies-Williams on 01978 297142



South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Road Show Launch

February 2007

A new joint initiative, aimed at reducing road traffic collisions involving young people, was launched at Coleg Gwent Ebbw Vale on Thursday 15th March.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Road Safety Officers from 10 local authorities in South Wales, have joined forces to bring a new initiative to students in sixth forms and colleges across the region.  Fire and Rescue Officers deliver the Road Show, which is funded by the local authority Road Safety Teams using a Special Grant from the Welsh Assembly Government.

The event involves groups of around 30 students who all receive an initial theory presentation at the college.  This focuses on the Domino Effect and shows how one road crash can affect lots of different people in addition to the actual casualties and their families. Practical advice is offered and the students invited to discuss the issues and ask questions.

Following this the students are taken outside and presented with the sight of a real crashed car, mounted on a trailer. This vehicle, a Vauxhall Corsa, was previously involved in an collision, which saw its 18 year old owner lucky to escape with his life, primarily because he was wearing his seatbelt.

With this strong visual still present, the students are then talked through the dangers involved in driving such as: drink and drugs, inappropriate speed and the proper use of seatbelts.

The students are also shown around a working fire engine, complete with all its rescue and cutting equipment, including the body bag. This further emphasises the drive safe message.

At the launch, Principal Road safety Officer, Penny Thorpe, said, “Young drivers aged between 17 and 25 are over represented in road collision statistics.  They often think they know it all when in fact their over confidence and inexperience can lead to tragedy.  The Roadshow shows them exactly what can happen and that it could happen to them”.

The Road Show should be visiting most colleges across South Wales so keep an eye out for it coming to visit yours!

For further information: contact Penny Thorpe at Capita Symonds, 01633 463376


Apprentices on the road to motoring success


Airbus has joined forces with North Wales Police and Flintshire County Council to offer its apprentices the Pass Plus Cymru course.

Gary Griffiths, Airbus UK’s head of young people development at Broughton, said, “We are proud to support this initiative, giving our apprentices an opportunity to further their driving skills. Through completion of the course we hope our apprentices will improve their knowledge of road safety and keep themselves and others safer on the roads.

Geraint Jones, assistant road safety officer for Flintshire County Council said, “It is important we educate young people about the potentially tragic consequences of unsafe driving and provide the tools to improve their skills and confidence.”

For further information: contact Geraint Jones on 01352 704526



Coleg Gwent, Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent

Two years ago staff at Coleg Gwent designed a Summer School programme for students who have recently finished their GCSEs. Appreciating that new young drivers are involved in a disproportionately large number of collisions, staff at the college were keen to include a road safety aspect to the summer school. They contacted their local road safety unit, which referred them to the Newport School of Motoring, and as a result a driving course was created to suit the needs of the students, and is now known as the Young Driver Academy.

The course runs for two days per week throughout the summer, and aims to prepare the students for both the theory and practical driving tests. Approximately 175 students have taken part in the summer school and were able to gain Open College Network Credits (OCNC). Students receive a payment of £40 per week on the condition that they attended every session!


Top Drive - Pembrokeshire

Top Drive is an event for all 16-18 year olds in Pembrokeshire. Held in November every year, this event is an introduction to driving to help reduce and prevent road traffic accidents (RTAs) within this age group. There are professionals on hand to give their expert advice to over 400 pre-drivers.
At the event pre-drivers will get to experience:

off-road driving
what to look for when buying a car or bike
how to approach a driving test
what insurance is the right insurance for them
what to check regularly on their car or bike.

Everyone will also get to experience fire fighters simulating a Road Traffic Accident recovery.

For more information contact: John Gobbi (Road Safety Officer) 01437 77 5144


DVD reminder to young motorists
A DVD reminding young motorists about safe driving has been launched in a bid to cut the number of fatal crashes in North Wales.

The North Wales Road Safety Group produced the disc after 13 of the 36 road deaths in North Wales in 2004 involved people aged between 17 and 25 years.
The DVD was launched with the reconstruction of a serious crash and features interviews with a crash survivor, victims' relatives, police officers and a nurse.

"It doesn't matter that you have passed your test and have a qualification to drive a car, you are still learning", says Heather Lynne Jones, of the North Wales Road Safety Group. "Experience is the key to surviving driving - we want young people to drive within their capabilities and experience."


Advanced Tuition for Sixth Formers

November 2006
The Vale of Glamorgan Road Safety Department is offering Sixth Form College students a day’s advanced tuition completely free of charge.

The scheme provides a morning of classroom theory before a practical on-road session utilising highly qualified and experienced ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) many with RoSPA Advanced Test qualifications. Andy Smith , RoSPA Examiner and Diploma holder says, The scheme targets the high risk age group before they get into difficulty.”

The series of courses are running in the sixth form schools and colleges and receive the full support of school staff and parents. For further information contact:

Clare Cameron , Principal Transport and Road Safety Officer 01446 704768



© Road Safety Wales 2006. All Rights Reserved.