June 2016 Issue
By Sarah Sillars OBE, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer
In my past articles for Insight I have often talked about the need to appeal to a younger audience whilst not alienating our loyal existing members.
Quite often you hear those words from senior people at large organisations and think ‘I’ve heard this all before. Boring!’
But we are committed to making this aim a reality. The need to get the attention of younger people is crucial to what we do. Those in their teens and 20s are the most at-risk group when it comes to being involved in a fatal or serious crash on the roads.
Road crashes remain the biggest cause of accidental death in the UK amongst young people. In the five year period 2009-13 there were 1,037 people under 24 killed and 120,958 injured on UK roads as drivers and riders.
Last year we launched a partnership with the Under 17 Car Club – not just to tap into a rich seam of young drivers who wanted to take their road skills to the next level, but also get their young customers’ opinions on what IAM RoadSmart could be doing better. The methods they respond to, how they interact with each other, what they think of messages from companies, older people and charities, and what sticks in their minds.
But recently we went further and staged a driving event in the Scottish Borders for drivers under legal driving age.
The Borders Under 17 Driving Day was sponsored by twice British Touring Car star John Cleland and hosted by us. This was a very exciting event which hits so many bases in what we want to do. That is catching youngsters early and shaping their attitudes towards safe driving, making driving a fun activity and having a driving legend who can deliver encouragement and give inspiration.
The attendees developed their skills over the day working up to braking and understanding safety systems, as well as a test of their handling ability through a slow-speed slalom. Modern and future technology was also a theme on the day, with a demonstration of autonomous braking.
The day also gave the young drivers the opportunity to demonstrate their new found skills to their parents at the end of the day, by taking them for drive around our specially designed course, leaving 68 drivers with smiles from an enjoyable day, and their parents with the pride of seeing what their children had achieved during the day.
You can expect more of this kind of thing from IAM RoadSmart in the future. Our safe driving message will never be compromised and we will never stop trying to reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on the roads.
But we will do this in a way which inspires, generates enthusiasm and fires the imagination in a way like never before. We love what we do here, and want that to translate into our activities, how we come across and the impression we leave in the minds of those we meet and work with.
I hope you approve of our new approach and will be just as keen to adopt it as me and the staff here at IAM RoadSmart.