A WIRRAL teenager has become the first to graduate from a unique driving training scheme which aims to cut road deaths.

Emma Hallett from Greasby passed her driving test with flying colours, becoming the first pupil from newly-launched Engage to do so.

Engage is a safety initiative for learner drivers which is supported by police, fire service and the council because it teaches pupils things which traditional driving schools tend not to.

Learner drivers are educated about how to avoid being distracted, how to avoid being influenced by passengers or other motorists, the dangers of fatigue, speeding, alcohol and drugs, and the importance of seatbelts.

Sergeant Paul Mountford from Merseyside Police's roads policing department, said: "These are all factors that contribute to people being killed and injured on the roads every year.

"When they go out on the roads for the first time after passing, new drivers have a lot to deal with and unfortunately one in five have a collision within the first six months.

"The Engage scheme aims to reduce that risk by adding extra training about how to deal with real life hazards so that as well as learning how to pass their test, they also learn how to stay safe on the road."

Emma, 17, passed her driving test after being taught by Jude Smith at Hazel's Motorschool who herself had undergone training to deliver Engage to her students. Emma said: "I decided to take part in Engage because I knew there was more to driving than just passing a test.

"Everyday there are many different situations to deal with on the roads and I knew that I needed to be capable of these on my own.

"I have not only learnt about important safety issues but also about how drugs and alcohol can seriously affect a driver's judgement.

"Since passing my test I am able to read the road ahead better and respond to avoid potential hazards.

"I feel this scheme is invaluable for young drivers because it aims to reduce the risk of potentially fatal accidents among this age group.

"If all young drivers took part then hopefully we would be working towards making the roads safer for everyone."

The scheme was launched in May after eighty driving instructors were given specialist training by Merseyside Road Safety Partnership to deliver the extra tuition.

As well as in-car discussions between instructor and pupil about the new topics, students are also given homework and can go to extra workshops held by road safety experts. Parents are also encouraged to get involved in the learning process.