A RACING driver joined traffic officers to help teach students the importance of safe driving.

The Year 13 students, from Richmond Sixth Form College, took part in an initiative supported by the North Yorkshire Police Traffic Bureau, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and local racing driver and alumnus Max Coates.

The training was instigated by Ian Dawson, a teacher at the school and the young driver advocate at the local branch of the IAM.

The students have been taking part in a weekly ‘Learning for Life’ lesson - and road safety awareness is particularly relevant to many of them who are learning to drive or have recently passed their test.

Traffic Bureau officer Jamie Smith spoke to more than 120 students about understanding speed and traffic management, road signage and the different types of safety cameras in use.

He explained that in North Yorkshire there has been a 16 per cent reduction in casualties compared to a 12 per cent increase nationally, meaning the county is ranked fourth in the country for casualty reduction.

The students were made aware of the outcomes of speeding in terms of the dangers and also the punishments, as well as information on other offences such as mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt.

Max Coates, racing driver, highlighted the dangers that are faced daily on the road compared to when he is driving at high speed on the race track when he has enhanced safety equipment.

Students carried out a team exercise regarding road safety, speed awareness and the highway code. The three teams with the highest score were invited to work with the police to operate a hand-held safety camera to check speeds of cars on the road outside the school.

They were also able to use the mobile tripod-fixed camera linked to sophisticated equipment in the police van.

Mr Dawson said: “Whilst our students are very sensible on the roads, as new drivers it is important that they fully appreciate the importance of being road aware."