New report pinpoints rural young driver issues

12.00 | 3 June 2013 | | 3 comments

A new report published today (3 June) provides an in-depth insight into the challenges facing young drivers living in rural areas.

The report – ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, published by Road Safety Analysis – provides a comprehensive summary of the types of collision involving rural young drivers, and is designed to equip road safety stakeholders with the tools to target the issue. It is a follow-up to earlier research conducted by Road Safety Analysis in 2012 (Young Drivers Road Risk and Rurality).

The report comprises detailed analysis of elements involved in rural young driver collisions, compared to urban young drivers and rural adult drivers. It also includes contributory factor analysis and breath test data provided by the Department for Transport.

In addition, the DVLA granted Road Safety Analysis access to licensing information at super output area level, providing a new insight into licensure differences between urban and rural communities.

Comparing rural young drivers with their urban counterparts, the report shows that rural young drivers are 58% more likely to be involved in a collision on a rural road; 68% more likely to be involved in a collision on a road where the limit is 60mph; and 27% more likely to be involved in a collision where a junction is not involved.

Rural young drivers are also 28% more likely to be involved in a single vehicle collision than urban young drivers; and 16% more likely to provide a positive breath test after a collision.

The report also highlights that rural young drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions on bends, in the dark and on wet roads, than their urban counterparts.

However, the report points out that some of these factors appear to be a function of living in the countryside as they also feature in rural adult driver collisions – but to a lesser degree.

Certain factors – such as collisions on bends, in darkness, on wet road surfaces, and where ‘loss of control’ is a contributory factor – appear to be due to a combination of age and rurality.

Recommendations in the report include a graduated driver licencing system, a specific rural driving test, more transport options for young people living in rural areas, telematics based insurance products and the use of alcolocks.

Click here to download the summary report, or here to download the full report.


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    Dave, thank you for your comments.

    The title, “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast”, doesn’t refer to excessive speed within collisions but that rural young drivers are exposed to more challenging road environments and at a younger age than their urban counterparts and therefore these risks could be seen to be too much and too soon for inexperienced youngsters.

    Regarding the recessional effect, if you are able to supply mileage figures by age and postcode, we would be happy to undertake the analysis and explore your suggestion that urban young drivers have reduced their mileage when rural young drivers haven’t. Certainly mileage does play a part in the increased risk of rural young drivers and their earlier licensure will add to this.

    Lastly, we did recommend GDL (to improve driving standards, including reducing the blood alcohol limit)and the use of alcolocks. We would agree with you regarding increasing the numbers of rural police to enforce all aspects of traffic law, including careless and dangerous driving, mobile phone use, drink-driving and exceeding the speed limit.

    Tanya Fosdick, Road Safety Analysis
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    No doubt when more of us have had the time to read, consider and digest this lengthy report, we will be able to discuss its contents. I look forward to an interesting and informed discussion.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    What does this research prove? The summary report says “too much, too young, too fast” but too much of what? Are rural drivers really too young? No evidence of excessive speed as a major factor in crashes.

    Much is obvious, eg young rural drivers crash more on rural roads than urban drivers. Isn’t that to be expected?

    But there are 2 major issues not addressed, the recession and mileage travelled. Figure2(p6) suggests RYD (Rural Young Drivers) crash more than any other group but the report covers 2007-2011. These are the first 5 years of the recession therefore figure2 could be explained by young urban drivers reducing their mileage (and therefore crash risk) at a time when rural drivers can’t (lack of options).

    One conclusion I might draw is that more rural police are needed to enforce driving standards and current alcohol laws, but the report does not recommend this.

    Dave, Slough
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