With road crashes being the single biggest killer of 15-24 year-olds in industrial countries, Governments cannot wave a magic wand to make young adults safer overnight, and there are no shortcuts to experience. But there are measures that can help reduce the risks associated with young drivers. One such programme initiated in Ireland by Mondello Park is EARLY-DRIVE Powered by MINI, a road safety programme aimed at young adults (15-18 years) primarily transition year students.


The EARLY-DRIVE Powered by MINI programme delivers a safe but fun road safety experience in a controlled environment in Mondello Park. Based on international best-practice standards and developed in association with the Irish School of Motoring, the course includes a road safety class room session, practical demonstration and a chance for students to undergo their first lesson on a purpose built track with road markings, traffic lights and warning signs, giving the experience of a main road environment.


Each year, more than 2,500 students complete this course and under the new agreement, MINI will provide four MINI Hatch models for students who will no doubt enjoy driving on track with MINI’s exhilarating go-kart feeling. The course is delivered under the watchful eye of qualified driving instructors and all of the MINIs feature dual controls within closed roads of Mondello Park. This environment allows students to learn the basics of driving and road safety without having to worry about other drivers and the hazards of learning on the open road. This year the programme has been expanded to include a virtual reality simulator to give students insights and knowledge of various types of distracted and dangerous driving.


Mondello Park General Manager Roddy Greene welcomed MINI's expanded support of the venue saying “We are delighted to partner with MINI on our EARLY-DRIVE programme. Road safety is such an important topic and the EARLY-DRIVE programme offers young people the chance to drive in a controlled environment and learn about road safety”.


Austin Behan General Manager for MINI Ireland said: “MINI has been for generations, the chosen car to learn to drive in thanks to smart design and engineering quality. Nothing beats the feeling of your hands behind the wheel of a MINI with its close-to-the-ground, go-kart feeling. We are excited to work with Mondello Park and drive this programme to help make a difference on our roads”.  


As part of their support of Early-Drive, MINI will provide places on the course to schools from all over Ireland. The schools to benefit will be chosen by the MINI Retail network, who will send pupils from their local areas to Mondello Park to experience EARLY-DRIVE completely free of charge. If your school is interested in applying please contact MINI Ireland on Facebook and send a direct message here.