Start their engines

14th September 2007 at 01:00
If you work in a school with a large sixth form, then safe driving is a major issue. It's not unusual to return after the summer break to find that at least one student has been involved in a serious crash. I wanted to help educate my tutor group, because, to be honest, the thought of some of them behind a wheel is slightly scary. I have seen students passing round pictures that they have taken on their mobile phones showing the speedometer at the top of the dial.

The Brake training programme is excellent. You're given a DVD to use, in which people talk about what it's like to lose a child in an accident. I supplement that with images from the internet of serious crashes. They are graphic, emotive and designed to shock. You need that, because teenagers tend to think they are invincible. I also use hard facts and figures. Young people make up one in 15 of the drivers on the road, but are involved in a quarter of all fatal accidents.

It's important to give young people strategies for getting out of awkward situations. If you're a teenage girl in a lad's car and he's driving too fast, it's no good telling him you're frightened. That's probably what he wants. Much better to pretend you're about to throw up all over his precious car.

Education really does change attitudes. The more teenagers hear the road safety message, the more likely it is to sink

Sandra Mulligan is head of science at Nelson and Colne College in Pendle, Lancashire. She was talking to Steven Hastings

The details

Young Driver Safety is a free one-day training course for teachers run by Brake, a road safety charity. For autumn dates and venues visit

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