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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
New young drivers' safety course
Policeman at roadside
A high proportion of accidents involve young drivers
A campaign to improve the driving skills of young people has been launched at the Urdd eisteddfod.

Research by BBC Wales has shown that nearly half the drivers and passengers killed on Wales' roads over the last three years were under 25.

Pass Plus Cymru will provide extra driving lessons for under-25s who have already passed their tests.

At the eisteddfod the chaired bard for a poem in strict meter was named as Eurig Salisbury from Aberystwyth.

Up to 2,000 young people will get the chance to go on Pass Plus Cymru during the first year, with part of the costs being met by the Welsh Assembly Government.

It has been of help because I now think ahead
Kevin Williams, young driver

Organisers stress that it is not an extra test, but a way to improve skills with three hours of theory and a day of practical training.

Dafydd Edwards, Conwy Council's road safety officer, said the course was set up in response to problems which were common to many accidents involving young drivers.

"Problems arise when they carry two or three of their friends, there is a difference in the way the car handles and this has caused many accidents," he said.

"Night-time driving is another one they might not be familiar with," he added.

Kevin Williams who has already been on the improver course said: "It has been of help because I now think ahead. It has made me more aware."

Major competition winners

Elsewhere at the Urdd, which moves around Wales annually, the main winners in art, design and technology, prose, Welsh learners, and drama competitions have been named.

The highlight of Thursday's competitions was the chairing of the bard.

Eurig Salisbury was born in Cardiff and the family later moved to Llangynnog near Carmarthen.

The adjudicators Llion Jones and Sian Northey said Mr Salisbury was "one who thinks and sees as a bard in this 'awdl' (ode). He has a fresh and supple voice".

Mr Salisbury also came second in the competition with another poem, with Llyr Gwyn Lewis from Caernarfon third.

Manon Wyn, originally from Llandwrog near Caernarfon, who won the prose medal, said she was grateful to the opportunities presented to young writers by the Welsh theatre.

"There are more opportunities to write drama, but it was never my intention to write drama alone," she said. "Writing is my hobby."

Ceri Elen, originally from Old Colwyn, who won the drama medal for her work Anorecsia - y cariad dinistriol (Anorexia - the destructive love), was inspired to write the piece after seeing TV documentaries about the condition.

She said she hoped those who saw the drama would recognise the illness in those around them and offer support and understanding "because they really need help".


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