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MSP takes the wheel

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DUMFRIESSHIRE MSP Oliver Mundell is in top gear after passing a course run by Dumfries and Galloway Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists.

The politician is over the moon to have achieved his IAM Roadsmart Advanced Driving qualification. It follows several intensive months of training with Martin Moore, an IAM Roadsmart national observer, local observer assessor and masters mentor for cars.

Martin said: “Oliver’s first observed drive was reassuringly safe, but identified that his observation skills and frequency of scanning (particularly lack of use of mirrors) needed to be enhanced in order to build a crisper, structured driving style and to make progress effectively. Choice of gears and propensity to coast in neutral were also identified as future issues for improvement.”

By the second session, the MSP was showing improved forward observation and a high visual horizon, but still needed to work on his rear observation Martin revealed that ‘high quality all-round observation’ is key to advanced driving and said: “In order to manage hazards effectively one needs to be aware of them.”

Over the course of several months Martin and Oliver worked to change his driving style to the IPSGA system, which is the basis of advanced driving and is used by the emergency services for all of their advanced drivers. “Unlearning one’s existing style of driving in order to learn a new simple system of driving takes time and commitment, which Oliver was certainly willing to do,” said Martin.

By the end of their time together, Oliver had made ‘significant improvements’ to his awareness, better positioning, speed and gear selection. He achieved a pass with top marks and is now in a position to be a road safety advocate in the Scottish Parliament.

Anyone who is interested in improving their driving or motorcycling skills can find details at or contact Helen Cameron, group secretary for Dumfries and Galloway Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists, at or telephone 07707 035518.

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