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Not content with passing his driving theory test the day after his 17th birthday and his driving test just two months later, 17-year-old Jamie Rodwell from Gray’s, an IT student at South Essex College of Further & Higher Education, went on to pass the IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Driving Test with flying colours last week and, in doing so, achieved a F1RST, the highest rating achievable, which means he demonstrated no faults in his driving in any area.

Jamie undertook the 90-minute test under the watchful eye of IAM RoadSmart Examiner Colin Underwood in the car Jamie had saved up for over 2 years and bought earlier this year, a Vauxhall Astra.

“I heard about the course from my dad, who is a member of the North East London & Essex IAM Group (NELE), and I was really up for the challenge,” said Jamie. “I thought the course would help me in my career aspirations and keep the cost of insurance down. After six runs with NELE Group’s Senior Observer Paul Heasmer, my driving was independently assessed as “excellent.” This gave me the confidence to go ahead and take the test.”

Jamie credits passing the test with making him more observant and giving him better control of the car. After passing his test, Jamie had another piece of good news when the group refunded him 50% of the cost of the course, something that it does for all under 26-year-olds when they pass their test. “The course, course materials, and test came to £175 in total, so, when compared with the high cost of driving lessons, I felt it was a no-brainer. It was a bonus to receive the refund.”

Paul Heasmer said; “A standard Advanced Driving test pass is a superb achievement, but it is exceptional for a driver to demonstrate driving ability worthy of a F1RST at such a young age. We believe he is also the youngest driver to show such skills that the NELE Group Advanced Motorists has had in the 60 years of its existence. He is an inspirational young man.”

IAM RoadSmart is the UK’s largest road safety charity. It has a vision of a society where all road users can safely and sustainably use the public highways together. It does this through a range of means including delivering the Advanced Driving and Riding tests.

IAM RoadSmart formed in March 1956 and has over 77,000 members who support its campaigns on road safety. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses. NELE Group Advanced Motorists was formed the following year.

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart visit:





Rebecca Dundon

Press contact Press Officer Media Enquiries 020 8996 9777

Nicholas Lyes

Press contact Policy and Standards Director

Harriet Hernando

Press contact PR & Press Manager 07711850639

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At IAM RoadSmart we make better drivers and riders. As the UK’s largest road safety charity, formed in 1956, we’ve spent more than 60 years making our roads safer by improving driver and rider skills through coaching and education. If you are interested in receiving additional driving and riding tips, journey blogs and information on all things relating to safer roads, or if you want to try your hand at becoming an advanced driver or rider sign up to become a member

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