‘Drive Fast, Die Young’

10.11 | 22 March 2024 | | 3 comments

A new BBC documentary has been released, telling the story of Sammy Phillips, a teenager killed on the roads in February 2023.

Sammy, who was just 19 years of age, and a 22-year-old friend, were the occupants of a BMW when it crashed into a tree on the A4130 near Bix, Oxfordshire, killing both.

The documentary, which is available to watch on BBC iPlayer, is led by Jamie Morris, Sammy’s older brother. 

Jaime told the BBC he feared the combination of young men and cars was “lethal”.

Jamie, from Llangynog, Wales, said he remembered “hyperventilating” when he learned of his brother’s death.

“It was just tears and crying,” he said. “You are just broken.”

Government casualty statistics show young male car drivers are four times as likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with all older drivers.

The documentary advocates changing the driving system to better support young drivers.

Dr Elizabeth Box, research director at the RAC Foundation, featured in the documentary.

Dr Box said: “The clear message that Jamie presents is that young males are more likely to take risks as a result of their age, experience and stage of brain development, and that we should be doing more to develop a driving system that takes account of this reality. 

“I wholeheartedly support this call from Jamie and Justine and would encourage everyone to watch and share this documentary, which was so courageous of Jamie to make.”

Speaking to the BBC, both Dr Box and Dr Shaun Helman (TRL) believe graduated driving licences could stop between 20% and 40% of crashes involving young drivers, who currently account for a fifth of all road deaths and serious injuries in the UK each year.

Graduated driving licences could see a minimum supervised learning period, curfews and a limit to the number of passengers new drivers can carry.

Dr Helman said for all young people, carrying passengers of their own age in a “party car” scenario increased the risk.

He said: “The more passengers you have with you, the more likely it is that you’re going to crash.”



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    In many ways this isn’t about road safety for young men, is it? It is about raising young men who can make sensible decisions, whether or not those decisions are about their vehicle use.

    We could spend a lot of money on introducing graduated licencing, and it might result in fewer deaths & KSIs, but young men would still make poor decisions about knife use, drugs, drink, etc. Ought not we be addressing the way we raise young men?

    That said, society relies upon a cohort of people who think they are invincible and think nothing of risk-taking to join its armies and fight its wars. The attitude of young men is a two-edged sword.

    David Daw, Bury St Edmunds
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

    What about young motorcycle riders?

    Don’t they matter? There is no ‘Young Riders’ scheme, a dozen die and many are seriously injured every year on E-Scooters, where the average user age is 16 years old. Some are pre teenage.

    25 young riders 40% were underage and some others probably had no licence and therefore also no training.

    Nobody seems to care, the public and the government seem to regard them as merely a nuisance, (unless they are killed in a diplomatic incident), when at the same time promoting the use of hired E-Scooters and PTWs to address pollution and congestion issues, ignoring the food delivery gig economy where many are exploited and at risk.

    Michael Abbott, Newark
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    Dr Elizabeth Box is one of the few road safety researchers that has used a scientific trial to test the value of an intervention (the DriveFit pre-driver education programme).

    If scientific trials were used for all road safety interventions, we would at last start to understand what effects our interventions have.

    And then we could actually start to save lives.

    dave finney, slough
    Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

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