About RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders
to do anything about the situation. One person who was inspired to attempt a solution was Louise Duncan, who was on the Finchley Road Safety Committee. She formed, along with other like-minded people, the Finchley League of Safe Drivers in 1955. They organised lectures by the police and, together with some on-the-road
training, eventually instituted a system of testing run by some of the police driving instructors from Hendon. The principle behind the League was the improvement of driving standards through spreading understanding of the police system of car control, already recognised in those days as the safest and most efficient method of driving a motor vehicle.
The organisation grew and other areas of the country became involved. However, after a few years the Finchley Council gave the League an ultimatum, arguing that it was unfair to use the local ratepayers funds to finance people in other areas of the country, so the League must either be restricted to residents of Finchley or become totally independent. Fortunately the latter course was chosen and in April 1960 the League of Safe Drivers was formed. It had two patrons, Mrs Margaret Thatcher (MP for Finchley) and Mr Raymond Baxter. It continued as an independent body with examiners in many parts of the UK. In many areas, local groups were formed to maintain and foster the enthusiasm of its members. The League required its members to take tests at regular intervals and offered a three tier grading system, plus a fail.
In 1980, the organisation had become large and unwieldy and faced increasing overheads. It was decided that RoSPA, which had in fact been very helpful from the earliest days, should take over the League, which it did on the 1 October 1980. Thus, the RoSPA League of Safe Drivers was born and based in Birmingham. Eventually, at the general request of the members the name was changed to the RoSPA Advanced Drivers' Association in April 1982.
The Association, while keeping the original objective and style of the League, has gone from strength to strength ever since. This is due in large measure to the enthusiasm and commitment of the local groups and the quality and consistently high standard of the tests conducted by the examiners.
The current name – RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders – reflects the changing membership profile, and includes all motorists: motorcyclists and scooter riders as well as car and other drivers.