Monday 17 June 2019

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Cork Independent


Mini offers under 18s life-saving driving experience

Wednesday, 20th March, 2019 4:25pm

A Mini was once, for so many, their first car, or the car they learned to drive in simply because they were cheap, numerous, and managed to be stylish even when they were third-or-fourth hand.

The current Mini range is out of the reach of most learner drivers’ pockets, but Mini Ireland wants to revive a little of that first-car feeling by supporting the Early Drive programme.

Early Drive has been run for some time by Mondello Park race track in Co. Kildare, and it’s aimed at transition year students aged between 15 and 18.

According to Mini, road accidents are the single biggest killer of those aged between 18 and 24 in industrialised countries, so the idea is that if younger drivers can be given the basics at an earlier age, they might be better prepared when they actually get a licence.

Based on international best-practice standards and developed in association with the Irish School of Motoring, the course includes a road safety class room session, practical demonstration and a chance for students to undergo their first lesson on a purpose built track with road markings, traffic lights and warning signs, giving the experience of a main road environment.

2,500 students a year have been going through the programme up to now, and Mini Ireland has now provided four cars to Mondello Park for the students to be taught in, all with dual controls for the track’s driving instructors. This year the programme has been expanded to include a virtual reality simulator to give students insights and knowledge of various types of distracted and dangerous driving.

Mondello Park General Manager Roddy Greene welcomed Mini's expanded support of the venue. He said: “We are delighted to partner with Mini on our Early Drive programme. Road safety is such an important topic and the Early Drive programme offers young people the chance to drive in a controlled environment and learn about road safety.”

Austin Behan, General Manager for Mini Ireland said: “Mini has been for generations, the chosen car to learn to drive in thanks to smart design and engineering quality. Nothing beats the feeling of your hands behind the wheel of a Mini with its close-to-the-ground, go-kart feeling. We are excited to work with Mondello Park and drive this programme to help make a difference on our road.”

Part of Mini’s support for the programme will be that free places will be given to schools nominated by Mini dealers from around the country.

If you want to get your school involved, head over to the Mini Ireland Facebook page and get in touch.

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