It will use video simulators to get students to respond to risky situations, including travelling with a car full of partygoers or negotiating rush-hour traffic while late for work and in a bad mood. They will also have to undertake virtual car journeys in different weather conditions and provide a live commentary on the hazards encountered on a video-taped journey.
Students will be required to undertake computer-based brain-training exercises designed to improve their eye-scanning and risk-assessment skills and impulse control.
Since 2000 there has been a steady rise in the number of fatal accidents involving novice drivers and more than 14 young drivers are killed every week in Britain. Government figures from last year show that drivers under the age of 21 were responsible for 15 per cent of all motoring convictions.
A government consultation paper to be published this week will propose that learner drivers should be forced to have professional tuition and to prove that they have acquired key skills before taking the practical test.
The course, developed by the private company a2om, will be delivered by advanced driving instructors in person and online and costs Â£150 on top of the Â£1,000 or so it can cost for driving lessons. Each of the four online modules should take no more than ten hours to complete.
Alex Crossland, 18, an A-level student from Bedfordshire who is studying with a2om, said that he found the courseâ€™s video â€œgameâ€ on hazard perception particularly helpful. â€œInstead of just learning theory, you learn to apply it. It streams video of a car journey and you have to click every time you see a hazard,â€ he said.
Source: The Times Online website 05/05/08, By