The Group was started back in 1986, when petrol cost just 38 pence per litre and there was no compulsory fitting of rear seat belts. Founder of this group, Mike Garnett, was an avid and experienced safe driver, whose commitment and enthusiasm got the Group off to a flying start, with the backing of RoSPA itself and some local professional drivers.
The objective of the Group has always been to promote safe driving and riding, and we do this by training members for the RoSPA advanced test, based on the Police driving system. The advanced test is conducted by serving or ex-Traffic Police officers, giving graded awards. Under RoSPA rules the test must be repeated every 3 years, which means that drivers always have something to aim for, indeed RoSPA is ahead of its time in that HM Government still does not require a mandatory age- or time-related retest.
Since 1986, the Group has had over 1,000 members, nearly half of whom have progressed to the advanced test. With over 200 members at the moment, the Group has undoubtedly had local success. Training is carried out by over 30 full test holders who with further training have become tutors. They act as unpaid observers getting the pupil up to test standard, and when ready the pupil progresses to the big day emerging from the 75-minute drive with a well-earned certificate!
Tutors also provide free refresher training prior to the 3-year retest.
During the year we organise some interesting events, for example talks on motoring-related topics by Traffic Police, emergency services, county councils and automotive manufacturers to name just a few.
The cost of joining the Group is actually very low indeed, mainly because our services are free ---- it’s just £7.50 per year. We like to keep skills within the Group and full members are encouraged to pass their experience onto the next set if they have the time and aptitude to do so.
Members approach the Group via the website or by recommendation, and the Group always welcomes enquiries from whatever source. Most of the new members are highly motivated to improve their survival skills behind the wheel, and consequently over the years we have welcomed people from 17 to over 70, and have helped them raise their driving standards.