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Putting Disabled Youngsters in the Driving Seat


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MILTON KEYNES, UNITED KINGDOM – October 24, 3011: The successful SEAT Young Driver programme in the UK is broadening its appeal still further with the news that it is soon to be made available to disabled youngsters.

By the end of October young wheelchair users aged 11 years and up will be able to take driving lessons with Young Driver.

The lessons, run as usual by fully qualified ADI driving instructors, will take place in new SEAT Ibizas equipped with DSG gearboxes and fitted with hand controls and dual controls.

Lessons will start at Brent Cross, Birmingham and Sheffield on Thursday 27 October, and will then roll out progressively to all eleven SEAT Young Driver venues nationwide.

The move to expand SEAT Young Driver to an even broader audience of potential motorists has been welcomed by Sophie Morgan. The TV presenter and former reality TV contestant on BBC3’s Britain’s Missing Top Model is backing the expansion.

Sophie, 26, was paralysed in a car accident at the age of 18. She said: ‘Having had a road accident shortly after passing my driving test, which left me paralysed for life, I wholeheartedly encourage any initiative aiming to help young drivers be better prepared for the road and, accordingly, lower the chance of accidents.

‘I also support and actively encourage the enabling of other young disabled people to drive. The independence and empowerment of having a driving licence cannot be underestimated and it is fantastic that SEAT and Admiral are providing young disabled people with such a valuable experience.’

SEAT Young Driver, sponsored by insurance giant Admiral, has already delivered more than 25,000 lessons to young people, including those with disabilities such as autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, profound deafness and visual impairment.

The addition of the hand control cars is the achievement of a longstanding ambition of the programme to be as inclusive as possible.

Kim Stanton of SEAT Young Driver said: ‘There is overwhelming evidence that early driving experience cuts accidents among young drivers by 40%, and it is great fun for youngsters. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors – SEAT and Admiral – we are not only the first young driver programme with a network of nationwide venues but, now, the first to accommodate wheelchair users.’

Young wheelchair users will be able to enjoy exactly the same activities as able-bodied youngsters – learning to steer, accelerate, brake, manoeuvre, reverse and park on Young Driver’s dedicated driver training areas each of which includes roundabouts, junctions, driving and parking zones.

SEAT Young Driver, Driving for the Disabled launches at Brent Cross Shopping Centre on Thursday 27 October. To book a lesson, or for more details, visit www.youngdriver.eu