The IAM and the 207 affiliated Groups in the UK are committed to improving road safety through education and training, which culminates in trainees, or Associates, as they are known, taking the IAM Test. The aim is to produce drivers and riders who are more capable of avoiding causing accidents to themselves as well as avoiding many of the hazards presented by other road users.
Nowhere in the UK is this capability needed more than in Dumfries & Galloway. As the Dumfries & Galloway 2005-2008 Road Safety Plan outlines, in 2004, on the roads of Dumfries & Galloway there were 488 crashes of which 9 resulted in fatal injuries, 92 in serious injuries and 387 in slight injury. There were 631 casualties in total, which include 86 pedestrians, 37 motorcyclists and 16 pedal cyclists. Many of these include young people under 25 years of age. Sadly, there appears almost to be a general acceptance that road traffic crashes are a part of life. Unfortunately, it is often too late before people realise the devastation that road crashes have on the people involved, as well as their families.
Injuries sustained in a crash can be disabling, with the casualty having long-term physical and psychological health problems. As well as the high price of the human factor, there is also a large monetary cost involved that affects everyone. The estimate of the cost of a fatal injury is almost £1,500,000 and the total cost of the injuries sustained within Dumfries & Galloway in 2004 is estimated at over £36,000,000.
It is against this background that the voluntary work by the Dumfries and Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists in trying to improve Road Safety throughout the region is so important. Everything the Group achieves in improving driver and rider training is done without central or local government support. Group income comes from membership subscriptions and from a small amount of sponsorship, which is insufficient to achieve all our aims. The cost of enrolling on the IAM course is £85, which is paid centrally to IAM Headquarters in London. This covers membership fees, the cost of course material and an examination fee. The Dumfries & Galloway Group derives no income from the course fee and all our training is provided free of charge by local IAM Members who are known as Observers.
If we are to make a noticeable difference to the safety of the people within Dumfries & Galloway there is so much more we need to do. At present we have around 100 Members and we can train about 40 Associates each year to Test standard. We need to significantly increase our numbers, and especially the number of Observers we have. These are Group Members who have already taken and passed the IAM Test and who have been further coached so that they can train Associates. We also need to provide these Observers with better tools and facilities so as to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their coaching. If we had more funding we could train around 100-150 Associates each year, with increases year on year, as we continue to grow in size. In a few short years, at this rate, the impact of our efforts will be felt and this will translate in a marked reduction in the number of crashes on our roads.
To help us make this step change we need your help to invest in the following areas:
If you can, please help us in any way to achieve this worthy goal, donations can be made by contacting the Group Secretary. Alternatively, corporate donations through payroll giving can be made via the charitable web site. You can view our profile on this site by visiting http://iamdumfries.smartchange.org
I initially became interested in Advanced Driving as I thought it would be a good achievement to have “under your belt”. I then heard that a friend had recently become an observer and it all spiralled from there. The first drive was slightly daunting and I had a lot to take. It also highlighted a few habits I had picked up that we would have to remedy.
After the initial drive it just got better and better along with the enjoyment and safety of my driving. I could basically see my driving style changing after each session with my Observer. It is after all quite exciting driving to the same system adopted by the Police. People need to understand that it’s not about driving slowly and going out for nice Sunday drives, it really can bring enjoyment to your driving and totally opens your eyes.
On the day of my test I was understandably nervous, but the tester, who I may add, was a pleasant down to earth chap put me at ease from the very beginning. I just applied all my newly found driving skills and incorporated them as per my usual sessions with my Observer. Understandably I was elated when I had found out I had past, a real achievement.
Since passing the test I have gone on to become an Observer myself and now have my own Associates. I have also enjoyed trips to Tulliallan Police College which has been a grand experience. I would advise any driver who enjoys there driving to take up the Skill for Life course as it will certainly increase your enjoyment and make you altogether a safer driver”. – Noel