Pupils get behind the wheel

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SIXTH year pupils at Peterhead Academy got behind the wheel recently to participate in the Driving Ambition Day which had been postponed in December due to the weather.

With the support of Hawco, Mac Tyres Ltd and Peterhead Motors, the pupils took part in the free event hosted by PC Raymond Neil from Grampian Police, Willie Tocher from Grampian Fire and Rescue and six Peterhead driving instructors, who shared both their expertise and their cars for a day dedicated to promoting road safety to young drivers.

Guidance teacher Stan Cordiner said: “We’ve had the Driving Ambition days here at the academy for about five years now and they have a huge impact on the pupils and greatly increase their awareness of safety when driving.

“The pupils are given various presentations throughout the course of the day and they all get together in the afternoon for an evaluation session. We’re very grateful for our local sponsors and the help we receive from the Peterhead driving instructors as without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide the pupils with a learning experience such as the driving ambition day.”

With the recent cutbacks faced by various organisations, discussions are taking place regarding the re-allocation of positions of the current road safety officers like PC Neil, who hosts awareness days like Driving Ambition.

Stan Cordiner added: “At the moment it is unclear what will be happening with the road safety officers jobs but if we were to lose police staff like Raymond it would have a devastating impact on 4th, 5th and 6th year pupils and their future health and safety.”

Road safety manager, Leslie Harrold admitted: “The future of the road safety officers in Aberdeenshire is unclear at the moment.

“We are undergoing our financial review and like many other organisations we are being faced with big budget cuts.

“There is a possibility that the road safety advisors could be trained up to carry out presentations such as the one PC Raymond Neil delivered to secondary schools as well as the current primary school visits they carry out.

“We hope that the work in secondary schools will still be carried out as young drivers are one of our main priorities, and we want to keep them as our main focus.”