Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Young drivers - told you so

It is good to see some awareness, at last, that road safety is very much dependent on the road user, and specifically that young drivers present higher and different risks from older drivers. A bit frustrating, though (to say the least), that it is taking so long to recognize publicly what has been widely known (not to say blooming obvious) for years.

This, and more, from the BBC website, 21 September 2010:
Newly qualified young drivers should be banned from night-time motoring and carrying passengers of a similar age, Cardiff University researchers say.

They said such "graduated driver licensing" for those aged 17-24 could save more than 200 lives and result in 1,700 fewer serious injuries each year.
This, and more, from the Ugley Vicar,  28 July 2009:
... the same study also identifies another factor which seems scarcely to be taken into account by public policy, namely that, as Mark Easton from the BBC identifies, “The average age of a road death victim is 36.9, and three-quarters of those who die are men —predominantly in their teens, 20s and 30s” (although the pattern for female road deaths precisely mimics that for males, but at a lower level). It has also been established by studies elsewhere that the chances of a young driver having an accident increase proportionately with the number of passengers.
Yet I know of no official policy or campaign addressing this issue. Safety campaigns and measures address speed and alcohol, and of these, speed is taken the more seriously (you still cannot be stopped and random breath-tested in the UK!)
My own view is that safety campaigns largely miss the point, by addressing legal driving rather than safe driving.
Incidentally, I would bet that introducing such a scheme would save considerably more lives and injuries than estimated above, by reinforcing a culture of safe driving (rather than merely focussing on enforced speed reduction), and would impact on the attitudes of young drivers as they turn into older drivers.

John Richardson

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