Teenagers as young as 13 experience driving at Reebok Stadium
9:46am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Bolton
The club, along with driving instructors from the BSM driving school, invited season ticket holders as young as 13 to get their first experience of driving a car.
Between 30 and 50 youngsters also got the chance to meet first team stars Joe Riley and Josh Vela as they took some of BSM’s cars for a gentle spin round a car park at the Reebok.
And many mastered reverse parking manoeuvres that still leave many adults flummoxed.
Daniel Mearns, regional business manager for BSM, said: “It’s great to be here working at Wanderers, which is obviously a great draw for the youngsters.
“Anything that promotes safe driving is something we want to encourage.
“None of the kids have ever driven before, which is why we are targeting them because young drivers are usually the least safe on the roads.”
The youngsters listened to a safety talk inside the Reebok Stadium before enjoying a quick practical lesson.
BSM has worked with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) for more than five years, giving road safety advice to young players, and has toured the UK visiting different clubs.
The £15 sessions were funded by the PFA as part of their safer driving programme.
Given the high wages on offer early in footballers’ careers, many young players drive powerful, expensive cars without much road experience — which has intensified the PFA’s desire to make them safe on the roads.
Mr Mearns added: “At this point we’ve had our first batch through and all the cars are still in one piece! The instructors have been impressed with what they have seen overall.”
Right back Joe Riley, who is currently injured after damaging his cruciate ligaments during the summer, said: “Initiatives like this are a really good idea.
“They educate our young fans about the importance of road safety as well as giving them the chance to get behind the wheel themselves.
“Josh and I took part in this BSM programme when we were in the Academy and it was really beneficial as it taught us a lot about driving techniques and driving safer.”
Bolton Wanderers’ programmes manager John Ashley said: “It’s the first time we have done this for our members. We have run this programme with BSM for our academy members very successfully and it’s good that we can lay things such as this on for our younger supporters.”
l Bolton and District Group of Advanced Motorists has called for parents to encourage their children to take the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ advanced driving course, which promotes safer driving.
The group’s call came in the wake of a horrific crash in St Helens Road, Daubhill, on Sunday, July 22, which saw two drivers, aged 20 and 21, jailed last week.
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