A new campaign has been launched by Road Safety GB North East in a bid to help safeguard young drivers from the dangers faced on the region’s roads.
Launched today (26 September), the campaign quotes statistics which show that young people are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers, with the risk increasing when they have a car full of friends.
To mark the launch, representatives from Road Safety GB North East, along with police and fire and rescue officers, are visiting Middlesbrough College to talk to students.
Road Safety GB North East says that while young drivers are not at fault for all collisions, when they are responsible the main causes are failing to look properly, risk-taking, distraction, speeding, inexperience and driving while impaired by drink or drugs.
Between 2011 and 2015, almost a third (29%) of road accident injuries in the North East related to collisions involving young drivers aged between 17 and 24 years – despite young people accounting for only 7% of driving licence-holders.
The more rural counties of County Durham and Northumberland have the highest young driver casualties.
The campaign is being backed by the family of Jordan Dowson, a young teenager killed in a collision in 2014. Jordan’s family will be at the launch, talking to students in the hope that other families will not endure the pain they have suffered.
Paul Watson, chairman of Road Safety GB North East, said: “We know a lot of young drivers are good drivers, however, figures show that those aged 17-24 are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other people. This may be due to their own actions, or simply inexperience at avoiding the dangerous actions of other drivers.
“We urge young people to be sensible and to take responsibility for each other. If the driver is acting irresponsibly, tell them to stop. If a passenger is distracting the driver, do something about it. Good mates do what’s right and look out for each other.”
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “The safety of young people is one of our main concerns and we will do all we can to promote safe behaviours.
“The death of a young person is devastating for all concerned and we are pleased to support this campaign which will make students more aware of the potential risks.”