Young driver safety
On Track - May 2019
The Transport Select Committee has recently launched an inquiry into road safety, scrutinising the Government’s approach and looking at which changes would be most effective at reducing the number and severity of road traffic accidents. Keoghs will be responding to this inquiry to highlight the importance of improving young driver safety, an issue for which we have been campaigning for some time.
Young drivers (those aged from 17-24 years old) account for around 20% of road deaths, even though they make up only 7% of full licence holders and their mileage is lower than other road users. Indeed, road traffic accidents are the single biggest cause of accidental death of young people, accounting for 15% of all deaths of young adults.
A range of factors contribute to young drivers being more at risk than other road users. Their lack of experience can make them less likely to spot and respond appropriately to hazards, while they are more likely to exhibit behaviours which increase risk such as speeding, overtaking blind, driving on drugs, and not wearing seat belts.
As a result, young drivers pose a serious risk both to themselves and to other road users. For example of the 342 people killed in crashes involving young car drivers in 2014, 120 were young drivers, 86 were their passengers and 136 were other road users. Young drivers are also statistically more likely to be involved in major accidents and are also more likely to be carrying passengers who sustain serious injury. The associated cost to the economy of these accidents was £2.9bn in 2013.
Keoghs believes that the Government must take action to prevent these avoidable deaths and injuries and continues to campaign for change. Ahead of the 2015 General Election, Keoghs worked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to publish a series of options for reducing crashes involving young drivers, including graduated driving licences (GDL).
Last year Keoghs hosted a young driver safety roundtable in Westminster with Jenny Chapman, Labour MP for Darlington and we recently followed this up with a networking lunch in Westminster. Keoghs used this latest event to call on the Government to bring forward a consultation on the introduction of GDL in the UK, in order to help stop young drivers dying disproportionately on the UK’s roads. We heard from Craig Tracey MP, Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services APPG, James Metcalfe from Jenny Chapman MP’s office, and a moving speech from Sharron Huddleston, a young driver safety advocate who tragically lost her daughter Caitlin in a car accident in 2017. We were pleased to welcome six MPs to the event and all of the MPs were engaged in the subject and keen to learn more about what the industry is doing. We also had wider stakeholder presence through road safety charities such as Brake and PACTs, as well as representation from RoSPA, Headway, and the RAC.
So how do we know that graduated driving licences can work? Well there are several examples from other countries which provide clear evidence of the effectiveness of GDL.
New Zealand - 23% reduction
The introduction of a GDL regime led to a reduction in car crash injuries by 23% for 15-19 year olds and 12% for 20-24 year olds.
Australia - 29% reduction
All Australian states operate a form of GDL, and fatalities among the 15-24 age group reduced by 29% from 2004-2014.
Nearly all Canadian provinces have introduced a form of GDL, and each has witnessed a corresponding reduction in collisions involving young drivers.
20-40% Reduction in crashes, casualties and fatalities involving young drivers
It is estimated that a GDL would reduce crashes, casualties and fatalities involving young drivers by 20-40%, with a corresponding beneficial impact on society and the economy. Further, the measure would benefit from strong public support – 68% of the British public support its introduction, with only 15% opposed.
The time for change is now and we intend to continue the momentum and have plans to meet with key civil servants in the Department of Transport and to increase our parliamentary engagement in addition to involving Sharron Huddleston in this parliamentary engagement so that she can continue to raise awareness of ‘Caitlin’s Campaign’.
If you would like to receive updates on the progress of our campaign or if you wish to be involved, please contact Samantha Ramen.