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PACTS heralds ‘historic opportunity’ for young driver safety

Thursday 25th April 2013

While welcoming the forthcoming Green Paper on young driver safety, PACTS says that the Government must ‘thoroughly examine ways to improve the safety of young drivers and their passengers’.

In a policy paper issued ahead of a road safety debate today (25 April) in Parliament, PACTS says that successive Governments have not got to grips with the issue of young drivers. The PACTS policy paper, ‘Getting young drivers back on the road – in safety’, has been circulated to members of the Transport Select Committee and other ministers and MPs.

David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “The Government has recognised the cost to lives and the economy. The forthcoming Green Paper on young drivers is an historic opportunity to engage with young people, their parents and the wider public to thoroughly explore all the options. We welcome this.

“Successive Governments have not managed to resolve the risks for young drivers and their passengers in the period immediately after passing the test. As well as the disproportionate safety risks, many young people are now excluded from driving because of high insurance premiums which reflect the level of catastrophic crashes. These issues have been consigned to the ‘too difficult’ pile for too long.”

The PACTS paper highlights that young, newly-qualified drivers are disproportionately involved in crashes, particularly ones involving multiple passengers. It also says that young drivers themselves acknowledge that they engage in risky and illegal behaviours such as driving too fast for the conditions or texting while driving.

The policy paper also says that new drivers understand that they need to improve their skills, with 95% acknowledging the need for at least some improvement.

David Davies added: “Nobody would expect a newly-qualified doctor, straight from medical school, to make life and death decisions in an instant without further support, experience or training. Yet this is what is expected of young drivers.

“Improved driver education and the use of telematics are likely to be part of the strategy. A graduated approach to learning and licensing may also be justified. Other countries restrict exposure to risk in the immediate post-test period, especially driving at night, with passengers of the same age, and consumption of alcohol.

“This is a historic opportunity to put young drivers back on the roads... in safety.”

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Another Green Paper, which unless someone actually does something constructive with it such as introducing graduated licensing, restrictions on passengers, etc will make no difference. I agree some young drivers have collisions due to lack of experience, however many of the collisions are due to driving too fast and overtaking in dangerous places - not how they were taught to drive! We have to address attitudes at an early age. It is obvious in primary which pupils are going to be the young drivers from hell! Early intervention will have a chance of changing attitudes, trying to do it at 16 or 17 years old is another matter. We forget sometimes it is a minority who give the majority a bad name.
Lucy, Scotland

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
+5

Thoroughly examine? I very much doubt it. You only have to read the comment about newly qualified doctors to get a grasp of how little the people in authority know about the problem they are trying to solve. If they were to thoroughly examine ALL the options open then maybe, just maybe, they could hit upon a solution or a teaching/training method that actually worked.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
+3