The only branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Northumberland has ceased to exist as a separate body.
As reported by the Gazette in March, at the group’s AGM last month, members discussed the amalgamation of the Alnwick branch with the neighbouring Newcastle institute, due to a shortage of committee members.
A statement from the group said: ‘Since 2002, Northumberland has been served by a local group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, based in and around Alnwick.
‘The group has helped to make Northumberland’s roads safer by assisting nearly 200 people to prepare for and pass the Advanced Driving Test.
‘This has been achieved by a dedicated team of volunteers over the last 14 years.
‘Times change and organisations sometimes have to restructure.
‘At its recent AGM, the Alnwick Group decided to join forces with the neighbouring Newcastle Group.
‘The county of Northumberland will continue to be served by both qualified and voluntary members, to help any new members to prepare for and take the Advanced Driving Test.
‘Anyone interested in finding out more about IAM RoadSmart can access the website www.iamroadsmart.com or contact the Newcastle Group secretary, Peter McEwan. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org’
Coun Gordon Castle, who was a member of the Alnwick group for cars and motorcycles, said: “My own view is that massively increased car ownership and use should increase IAM membership.
“But administration is needed by volunteers and I am saddened that the Alnwick branch cannot be continued.”
He added: “Driving is the most hazardous activity that most of us undertake and you might hope that recognition of this would encourage drivers to reach for the highest standards obtainable.
“Perhaps more encouragement is needed by insurance companies and employers. I have heard it said by insurance companies that IAM drivers do not necessarily become lower risk drivers, but this may be because mainly safe drivers undertake IAM membership and training in the first place.”