JUST one in 17 new drivers who take a safety course have a crash in their first year on the road, compared to one in five of those who don't go on the scheme.

A survey of young people that have been involved in the Pathfinder driving initiative shows that one in 17 had an accident during their first year on the road. while the figure is only one in five for new drivers who haven't been on the course.

Pathfinder, which is supported by West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion through grant funding, is designed to reduce the number of crashes and convictions among drivers aged between 17 and 24.

This is done by working with the young people before they are 17 so they can develop their understanding of road safety and driving skills.

Mr Campion said: “It is great news to hear that the Pathfinder scheme is having a positive impact on those that have taken part. Giving young people the opportunity to learn key driving skills in an environment like this is invaluable.

"There are far too many accidents involving young people happening on our roads. Through projects like Pathfinder we can tackle this problem together.”

Not only does the course aim to reduce the number of collisions, it also lowers the number of convictions. Of the 50 survey participants, only one driver had been convicted of a traffic offence compared with nearly 24 per cent of all drivers nationally.

Also, 87 per cent of people who responded to Pathfinders survey stated the course had been very useful in making them a better driver with 78 per cent saying they considered it useful in making them safer our roads.

Organisers asked its students for comments, and one person said: "I found the Pathfinder programme a great way of being able to drive and learn about driving before I was legally allowed on the roads.

"We learnt about car control and basic driving skills in a safe environment. It not only helped my driving ability but also my confidence behind the wheel. I would thoroughly recommend this course to others."