Fleet News

USAF staff train in UK road skills

ROAD deaths among its personnel stationed in the UK has led the United States Air Force (USAF) to introduce a driver training programme.

The Suffolk-based personnel are being offered both theoretical and practical training to help them adjust to UK roads.

Driver training provider AcciDON’T has teamed up with USAF in Lakenheath and Mildenhall to help prevent accidents.

Peter Williamson, a director at AcciDON’T which is providing the practical training, explained: ‘The personnel are allowed to bring their own cars to the UK so they are left-hand drive and are bigger. There have been problems ranging from lost wing mirrors up to fatalities.

‘The Americans have specified certain roads for us to train on where the fatalities have occurred which are mainly narrow country roads with uneven road surfaces.’

AcciDON’T began the training contract at the start of this year, sending two trainers to the base once a week, training 12 people at a time.

The Air Force will be monitoring its accident statistics throughout the year and although the training is voluntary at the moment, it is likely to become compulsory, according to Williamson.

He said: ‘The training is expected to last for a year but the response has been excellent so far and it is likely to become compulsory. The main concern of the US Air Force is education. They are looking at prevention in general and the on-road training is re-enforcing the in-house theory which is currently offered.’

The on-road training, which is called UK Familiarisation, is completed in Ford Focus automatics on local roads where the accident history is worst and follows the in-house theory course called ‘Driving in the UK’.

AcciDON’T is also considering introducing training on dipped headlights and using roundabouts instead of four-way junctions, two aspects the US personnel are not used to dealing with.

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