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 one in five new drivers who haven't been on the course have a collision in their first year.

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.

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.

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.”

Paul Silverwood, chair of trustees for the Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust, which runs Pathfinder, said: “This survey proves that the disproportionately high numbers of young driver deaths, injuries and collisions are avoidable by applying the appropriate non-traditional training and education.

"If the Pathfinder programme was adopted nationally, the country would save billions of pounds in addition to the avoidance of family grief.”