Driving Instructor Profile - Tommy Sandhu
After completing my GSCE exams I decided that I no longer wanted to continue education and began my career in the retail world at the then famous, Texas Home Care (DIY Store). I rapidly progressed through the company ranks and obtained an assistant management position before moving to B&Q PLC as a team leader who also sponsored me to achieve both an HNC and a Post-Grad certificate in Business Management. From here, I progressed forward to a Deputy General Manager, and furthered my skills in new organisations such as Asda and Big W. At which point, I decided I wanted to carve my own career as an entrepreneur and set up an independent design clothes shop in the Coventry City Centre. After a few years of directing the store, I decided it was time for a career change, sold the shop and then moved into driving instruction.
I qualified in 2006, so I have been an ADI 15 years in total – I now run Coventry’s largest driving school – Smart Learner. The schools home base is in Coventry, but we cover Birmingham, Leicester, Solihull, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Rugby and, other surrounding areas and includes myself and 46 other instructors.
We first signed up to the Honest Truth campaign in November 2019 after we discovered the campaign through the First Car Magazine and reached out to Annette.
In the early days, we would visit local schools within Coventry alongside the West Midlands fire service and IAM Roadsmart to present to young pupils about the risks of drink and drug driving and overall road safety. “The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16-19 than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.” Given this statistic it is absolutely imperative we educate the younger generations to help reduce fatalities among young drivers.
Younger drivers are significantly at more risk than others, and the Honest truth campaign specifically targets this. Combining what we already do with their materials also, I know I am providing the knowledge to my learners as well as all the learners in the school to understand road safety and how to adopt good driver behaviours.
Instructors are influential on their learners as their driver attitude and behaviours are often duplicated within their pupils. This programme differs from others as the scheme is specifically targeted to a younger audience and provides incentives to ensure the learners get involved. So far, the learners have been eager to get involved and learn the 'fatal four' and have understood how this can impact them.
It is important that ADI’s develop new drivers’ behaviour and anything we can do additional to support young or new drivers to understand the seriousness of driving a vehicle can and will save lives. The Honest Truth campaign helps support this and brings local instructors together to work towards a common goal.
If all instructors were to get on board and increase the impact of the campaign, I believe we will see remarkable results. Any additional support we can get from safety campaign groups is worth delivering to new students even if it saves just one life.