Young Teens Are Crowned UK’s Best Young Drivers - Before Legal Driving Age

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A 13 and a 16 year old are celebrating after beating hundreds of others from across the country to be crowned the UK's Best Young Drivers - before they are even old enough to officially drive.

A 13 and a 16 year old are celebrating after beating hundreds of others from across the country to be crowned the UK's Best Young Drivers - before they are even old enough to officially drive.

Troy Hickling, 16, from Leicester finished first in the 14-16 age category, and Hannah Tripp, 13, from Cheddar in Somerset won the 11-13 age category, at the national finals of the 2014 Young Driver Challenge, held at the Birmingham NEC.

They were crowned the overall national champions after judges from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) praised their control of the vehicle, precise manoeuvres and quick thinking behind the wheel.

More than 350 young people entered the competition, organised by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of driving tuition for under-17s, and Troy and Hannah were among the 40 who made it to the final of the contest - which was open to those aged between 11 and 16.

As well as being marked on their practical driving skills behind the wheel of a dual-control car at one of Young Driver’s 33 venues, the entrants were also judged on their performance in the Goodyear Driving Academy, an online driving simulator which tests a youngsters’ knowledge of the Highway Code.

For winning their age categories, Hannah and Troy both took home the top prize of 20 Young Driver lessons, 20 ‘on the road’ post-17 driving lessons courtesy of Goodyear, a Young Driver at School session for them and their classmates and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver sponsor Admiral.

Hannah said: "It was an amazing feeling even to be in the final. To then learn I'd won my age category was just incredible. It was quite a challenging test and we knew the judges were marking our ability based on a lot of different driving skills and manoeuvres.

Troy added: “It was a great day and I was stunned to win. It’s reassuring to know I’m doing so well, and all this experience will obviously be a huge help when I come to learn on the road aged 17. I’m looking forward to all my classmates being able to try out the Young Driver experience as part of my prize.”

One of the judges, IAM director of standards Mark Lewis, added: “Young people are often labelled as risky drivers; but Troy, Hannah and all the entrants to the contest have shown that they can achieve the highest standards of driving safety.

He added: “There is a small amount of research to suggest that those who undertake driver training at an early age pass their DVSA test first time. It would seem that whilst they may have less on-road driver training once they obtain their provisional licence, their attitudes to safe driving remain unchanged by peer pressure.

“I heard two parents discussing how their own driving habits had been altered by their children. One mum said that her son was now pointing out her bad driving habits and particularly encouraging her to drive within the speed limits. Here we see a reversal of the trend where children learn their driving behaviour at a very early age from watching their parents. We are now seeing that parents are being corrected by their children who have undertaken the Young Driver programme. This could have a massive impact on road safety.”

Notes to editors:

1. Pictures are available with this story. Please contact us if you would like them sent to you.        

2. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving and motorcycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.

Media contacts:
IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777
ISDN broadcast lines available

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Rodney Kumar
Institute of Advanced Motorists
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