A SCHEME to boost drivers' skills that has been supported by the Kidderminster branch of a leading motoring organisation is in the running for national recognition.

Streetwise, led by West Mercia Constabulary in partnership with Institute of Advanced Motorists' - IAM - groups, including Kidderminster's, has been entered for a Prince Michael of Kent Road Safety Award.

More than 80 per cent of participants surveyed after completing the free Streetwise one-hour driver skills assessments said their driving had improved.

Confidence was also boosted for seven out of 10 people questioned following the sessions, conducted by IAM observers.

The scheme, believed to be the first of its type in the country, has prompted around 300 people to take part.

Several police forces have contacted West Mercia to find out how they can set up similar initiatives in their own areas.

Sgt John Roberts, who co-ordinates Streetwise in West Mercia, said: "We are delighted that so many people have taken up the Streetwise challenge in the last 10 months.

"We believe that, by improving people's driving skills, we can make roads in the force area safer for everyone.

"It is also excellent news that more than 97 per cent of those who have taken the skills assessment have not been involved in a crash since they received their guidance."

Bruce Ferguson, IAM regional co-ordinator, said: "The results of the survey bear out what we know from experience - that motorists who take this skills assessment opportunity not only improve their safety but also find their increased confidence boosts their enjoyment of driving."

He urged anyone interested in taking part in Streetwise to call 01905 331659.