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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
Teen crash driver's safety advice
Tom Martin
Tom Martin says he has learned the lessons of his accident
A major campaign's being launched to cut the number of young people dying on Welsh roads.

A third of those killed or injured in accidents are aged between 17 and 25.

One teenager who wrote off a car on the day he passed his driving test, is backing a project to give advanced driving lessons to young people.

Within eight hours of throwing away his L-plates, Tom Martin, 17, from Cardiff, took four friends out in the family Peugeot 306, lost control and crashed.

Road Safety Wales says one way to cut back on accident is to encourage new drivers to take an additional course to give them experience of driving in different conditions.

For Tom's part, he blames over-confidence for the crash, in which no-one was badly hurt.

It was about two months before I got in a car again
Tom Martin

Having passed his test at lunchtime on 25 January, he went for a celebratory drive. Just eight hours after ripping up his L-plates, his parents' S-registration car was a write-off.

He explained how he was driving down Pentyrch Hill in damp conditions when, on a blind bend and at speed, the car hit a kerb, spun round and hit two more kerbs.

He and his friends managed to get out of the wreckage with cuts and bruises, but they were extremely shocked.

"My life flashed before me, I was more upset than anything else as well because it was my mum's car, but I realise it could have much worse," he said.

Heather Lynne Jones of Road Safety Wales and Miss Wales Sarah Fleming;
Heather Lynne Jones of Road Safety Wales and Miss Wales Sarah Fleming launched the scheme

"My friends were fine. I realise now the people in my car are my responsibility, when I crashed I didn't realise that.

"It was about two months before I got in a car again, it was alright but it was daunting at first, a bit of a scary experience."

The teenager, who has had a quote of 4,000 to insure his car in his own name, advocates the new 40 Pass Plus Cymru (PPC) scheme, run by Road Safety Wales.

When he sees speeding young drivers, he would like to see them ease off the accelerator.

"I was [like] that once," he said. "People should calm down, just don't go mad and stick to the speed limits".

YOUNG DRIVER DANGERS
A third of those killed or seriously injured in road accidents in Wales in the past 10 years were under 25
On average 45 young people die every year in Wales in crashes
In 2005, 148 drivers and passengers were killed on Welsh roads

His driving instructor Robin Masters, of First Stop driving school, heard about the accident and recruited him into the scheme.

"Apparently it was the talk of the driving school," said Tom.

The Pass Plus Cymru (PCC) scheme involves the new driver spending a whole day driving around with a driving instructor to identify hazards.

The campaign is aimed at new drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 and preferably within their first year of driving.

"Drivers need experience more than anything, they should try to get out on their own a lot to concentrate solely on the road," Tom added.


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