Young Driver Focus – as it happened

12.00 | 26 April 2017 | | 3 comments



  • YDF2017 – taking place at the RAC Club, London.
  • Event sold out – more than 200 delegates set to attend
  • Click here to read more about the agenda
  • Get involved on Twitter by using the #YDF2017 hashtag

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15.20 – Simon Brown, road safety programme manager at Hertfordshire County Council & Antonia Petrie, business partner at West Midlands Fire Service

Simon Brown is Road Safety Programme manager at Hertfordshire County Council with responsibility for road safety in schools, sustainable travel, driver training, school crossing patrols, Bikeability, education and publicity.

Simon chairs the Hertfordshire Strategic Road Safety Partnership, sits on the Safety Camera Partnership and oversees a substantial road safety fund on behalf of Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Antonia Petrie sits as Business Partner within the Road Casualty Reduction Team at West Midlands Fire Service.

Antonia co-ordinates a range of road safety initiatives within the West Midlands, mainly focusing on young drivers and passengers and developing interventions to deliver to post 16 education facilities.

She is project lead for the brigade’s newly launched virtual reality education package, Every Choice Counts, which will be rolled out into colleges and universities across the region over the coming academic year and focuses on the attitude and behaviour of young drivers, whilst supporting them to develop coping strategies.

Presentation: VR in road safety: the next steps (working title)

  • We are at the beginning of a very long journey
  • We are trying to identify what works and maintain new behaviours
  • We are trying to use the VR headsets to encourage people to take up more training
  • A wide variety of products available to view VR (immersive headset, cardboard viewer, smartphone, web browser)
  • VR gives us the opportunity to tell our story

15.00 – Steve Ferris, media officer, Road Safety Analysis

Steve has been working with Road Safety Analysis (RSA) for the past four years. As part of the RSA team, Steve has worked on a number of creative and technical projects that have sought to draw together the relationship between data and delivery, to produce high quality and engaging education packages that work.

Presentation: Immersive 360 video and the human impact

  • Relatively little research at present
  • Some concerns about the psychological effects and motion sickness associated with VR
  • Research (not evaluation) looking at effects/impact of immersive video over standard screen and relative levels of stress in headset vs screen
  • Immersive video would appear to have an additional 20-30% influence on levels of stress
  • Immersive video should not be used independently for interventions or educational programmes
  • Content should generate positive emotions

14.45 – Iain Watson, senior road safety officer (education), Suffolk County Council

After working a as a teacher and an advisory teacher, Iain Watson joined Suffolk County Council’s road safety team in 2007, and now leads the education team. He and his team have undertaken work ranging from in-car infant safety activities, through to college based interventions, interacting with as many year groups in between as possible.

Iain is looking at how to change behaviour rather than just warn of dangers, and how to promote a positive view of road safety; to normalise good road usage behaviour.

Presentation: ‘Braking Point’ – focusing on the positives

  • Successfully delivering a ‘road safety’ or ‘risk’ message in schools is difficult
  • Multiple & varied engagements/interventions are better than ‘one offs’
  • Accessing schools for multiple sessions is a challenge
  • Delivery partners (FRS, police, RSOs etc) often have different philosophies, but need to be aligned for consistency.
  • Lecturing gives information; engagement delivers change
  • Evaluation is critical
  • We cannot be simply ‘hard hitting’ and use fear to change behaviour
  • Fear appeals may have a negative or no effect, rather than a positive outcome on the target audience
  • Normalise good behaviour…elicit opinion and encourage debate (not lecturing)…provide strategies and information…develop a consistent approach for road safety teams, fire & rescue and police
  • Two-pronged attack – TIE performance (whole year group) and follow up a month later (individual classes)

14.30 – Mark Taylor, Surrey Fire & Rescue Service & Lesley Allen, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service

Mark Taylor is Education & Youth Diversion Manager with Surrey Fire & Rescue Service (FRS). He joined Surrey FRS in April 2000, following six years secondary school teaching in West Sussex.

He is currently responsible for the service’s juvenile firesetters programme, the Youth Engagement Scheme, targeted schools fire safety education and, through Safe Drive Stay Alive (SDSA), young driver road safety education.


Lesley Allen works for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as Other Emergencies Co-ordinator, with a lead for road safety.

She co-ordinates a range of road safety initiatives in Greater Manchester, mainly targeting young drivers and passengers. Lesley is the project lead for the multi-agency Greater Manchester Safe Drive Stay Alive project, which is now in its’ fourth year and aims to reach around 10,000 young people in November 2017.

Presentation: Safe Drive Stay Alive – Greater Manchester and Surrey

  • Tangible benefits to working across geographical boundaries
  • Delivering similar live ‘performances’ with similar aims, objectives, formats, content and outcomes
  • Reaching large numbers of vulnerable drivers and passengers (22,000pa)
  • Extending contact and learning, using a range of BCTs, to further improve outcomes
  • Jointly commissioned Road Safety Analysis to conduct evaluation of SDSA
  • Different regions and socio-economic groups, but with similar evaluation results
  • Evaluation at 3 months showed a statistically significant improvement in all measures and this continued at 12 months
  • Developed a follow up tutor resource (for teachers) which explores what makes a good friend as a driver or passenger
  • The resource is available from the SDSA website

14.10 – Mike Ketteringham, chief executive officer, ingenie

Mike has over 15 years’ experience within the insurance industry and has been working with ingenie since its launch in 2011. He joined as Chief Strategy Officer in 2013 and became Chief Executive of the ingenie brokerage in 2016.

He has championed the development of ingenie’s work in driver behaviour change and introduced new strategies for engaging drivers in ongoing education.

Presentation: Less Talk, More Chat: Evolving Young Driver Intervention

  • ingenie young driver report – written by young drivers, for young drivers
  • 90% of drivers contacted by the ingenie Driver Behaviour Unit (DBU) improve within a month of the call
  • A call from the DBU is a five-minute chat with a psychology-trained advisor.
  • By being a trusted partner we can help them make the right decisions at the right time
  • RoadSkills Academy is working with ingenie
  • RoadSkills Academy – a toolkit of targeted educational interventions to help drivers improve their driving
  • RoadSkills Academy – lowering the average risk profile of drivers
  • It can’t be right that you almost have to offend before getting a safety intervention

13.30 – FirstCar to present Young Driver Road Safety Awards

Lunch is upon us, and will be followed by the FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety awards. 

While we will not provide live updates during the ceremony, the winners will be featured in a seperate news item later this afternoon.

Click here to find out who is shortlisted. 

Session three, titled practical interventions, will get underway at 2.10pm.

12.20 – James Watson, associate advisor, Behavioural Insights Team

James is an Associate Advisor at the Behavioural Insights Team. The team, commonly known as the ‘Nudge Unit’, first began life inside government in 2010.

It aims to use insights from the growing body of academic research in the fields of behavioural economics and psychology to encourage, enable and support people to make better decisions.

Presentation: Improving road safety: what can we learn from behavioural insights?

Applying behavioural insights: EAST – easy attractive, social and timely

  • Easy – small things that might seem irrelevant, things that make a task more challenging or effortful can make a difference between someone doing something or not doing it
  • Attractive – we’ve probably all bought something in the past not because we actually needed it but because it was made attractive to us (the private sector does this better than the public sector)
  • Social – we are social creatures, we’re influenced heavily by what other people around us do and say. We’re more likely to use services endorsed by other people
  • Timely – people respond differently to prompts depending on when they occur. Our experience moment to moment has an impact on our behaviour

12.00 – Ian Edwards, New View Consultants

Ian Edwards has been a road safety professional since the early 1990s. His career includes spells as an approved driving instructor and as road safety manager for Kirklees Council.

He has been very involved in the EU Hermes project which looks at driver development at European level, and worked closely with the DVSA for a number of years to advise on driver training and testing within the UK.

When the Road Safety GB Academy came into being, Ian was instrumental in creating the National Standard for road safety practitioners. He also wrote, developed and helps deliver the widely acclaimed Road Safety Practitioners’ Foundation Course and the one-day Behavioural Change Course

Presentation: Behavioural change in road safety

  • Lots of techniques – 93!
  • Behavioural change is not simply about putting in as many Behavioural Change Techniques as possible 
  • It’s about using models and then selecting the right techniques to achieve your intervention’s objectives.
  • Road Safety GB is about to launch a new Behavioural Change Course, building on the current course – full details to follow. 

11.45 – Lucía Magis-Weinberg, Department of Experimental Psychology, University College London

Lucía Magis-Weinberg is a neuroscientist at University College London investigating how behaviour and the brain develop during adolescence. She is currently focusing on how different contexts (such as the presence of peers or rewards) can influence adolescent’s ability to regulate their thoughts and emotions.

Her research tools include behavioural experiments (such as computerised games) and MRI scans to measure brain function and structure.

Presentation: Inside the teenage brain

  • Many teens define ‘safe driving’ as being able to drive recklessly without having an accident
  • Hallmarks of adolescence: risk-taking and novelty seeking, impulsivity & increased focus on the social context
  • Risk taking behaviour in adolescents is related to brain development (weak behavioural control and high sensitivity for reward)
  • During adolescence the brain undergoes pruning and becomes more efficient (in general from back to front)
  • Sensation seeking peak (aged 19yrs) precedes self-regulation ability peak (aged 24yrs)
  • Teenage brain has powerful accelerator, but underdeveloped brakes
  • It’s all about the context
  • In the absence of stress, peers, distractions, strong emotions etc – most teens perform similarly to adults
  • With the presence of stress, peers, distractions, strong emotions etc – a driver’s regulatory capacity can be easily overwhelmed
  • Adolescents are intensely attuned to social interactions with their peers – peer interactions often make risky behaviours more likely (teens make more risky decisions when watched by their peers)
  • Teens’ great need for social acceptance combines with inexperience in handling pressure from peers
  • Late adolescents (18–22yrs) in peer groups make more prudent decisions when an older (25–30yrs) adult is present
  • Contrary to popular belief, teens do not believe they are invulnerable
  • Both adolescents and adults have an optimistic bias and are overconfident in their own control over risk
  • Since the teen is less experienced and competent at the wheel than the average adult, the optimistic bias is particularly hazardous for teen drivers
  • Adequate sleep is crucial for adequate brain development: adolescents are chronically short on sleep
  • Adolescents stay up too late but are required to wake up quite early for school etc


  • Should draw on the relevance of social context of teen driving and the cognitive and social development that occur during these years
  • Strategies should link responsible driving with attributes or rewards that teens value
  • Monetary rewards for demonstrating responsible driving skills?
  • Passing a series of tests, rather than one test?

10.55 – Laurence Atchison, senior research officer, PACTS

Laurence Atchison joined PACTS in October 2015. During the past year he has been writing a PACTS policy report which will form part of the European Transport Safety Council’s new project, YEARS: Young Europeans Acting for Road Safety.

The policy report looks at the situation facing young drivers and riders on Europe’s roads and how different countries have attempted to improve their safety.

Presentation: Youth and Road Safety in Europe

  • The YEARS (Young Europeans Acting for Road Safety) Project – a three-year EU funded project summarising the road safety situation for young drivers/riders, including counter measures & recommendations
  • In 2013 more than 3,800 young people were killed in collisions across Europe (the majority are drivers and riders, more males than females)
  • Problem is worst in countries including Greece & Poland and best in Sweden, Netherlands & UK
  • Moped problem worst in warm countries like Cyprus & Greece
  • General measures to reduce casualties: stricter demerit schemes (points on licence), lower BAC limit for younger drivers, roadside drug drive chemical testing (as used in UK), alternative modes of transport/better public transport, good information campaigns targeting young people
  • Training & education: road safety in school curriculum, improve formal training, encourage more informal training & consider post-licence training
  • Licencing & testing: don’t lower licencing age but allow earlier training; Graduated Driver Licencing (part or all); hazard perception testing; review test content, length & location.
  • Safer vehicles & telematics: encourage safety technologies, explore telematics insurance and consider implications of autonomous vehicles
  • General recommendations
  • More research into young road user risk and its causes
  • Standardised stats reporting by EU member states
  • Encourage greater sharing of legislation & good practice
  • Ensure EU driving licence directives are updated
  • Significantly increase work centred on young riders

Report available on the ETSC website:

10.45 – Dr Fiona Fylan, Brainbox Research (on behalf of the RAC Foundation)

Dr Fiona Fylan is a health psychologist who specialises in understanding the decisions that people make that affect their health and wellbeing, and how to help people make more appropriate or less risky decisions.

Fiona’s research addresses a wide range of health-related behaviours and focuses on road user behaviour.

Presentation: Using Behaviour Change Techniques: Guidance for the road safety community

  • It’s not enough to tell people what to do and that their behaviour is risky
  • The new guide (published today) outlines 10 steps for road safety practitioners when developing an intervention – from defining the problem to evaluating
  • The guide outlines the most effective 23 behaviour change techniques and examples of how they can be used
  • There is advice on evaluation with a focus on randomised control trials
  • The guide builds on what others have found out, provides inspiration, saves time and adds credibility to interventions
  • Available to download from the RAC Foundation website

10.25 – Lesley Young, head of policy and chief driving examiner for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

Lesley Young is responsible for the development of policies for all the Agency’s services: driver, rider and vocational theory and practical tests; vehicle testing including MoT; and  compliance and enforcement.

Dr Shaun Helman, head of transport psychology, TRL

Shaun Helman is a cognitive psychologist who has been involved in researching road safety and driver behaviour for the last 15 years.

Presentation: Transforming the driving test

  • 120 young drivers died in 2015: 80% on rural roads, 16% on urban roads & 4% on motorways
  • New test features more independent driving (20mins), use of sat nav, parking into a bay and answering ‘show me’ question while driving
  • New test is not a panacea, but is more representative of post-test driving
  • Consultation received 4,000 responses with a very high level of support for the new test
  • Revised test makes drivers more confident in their ability to be a safe driver who would not be involved in an accident
  • Test performance: there are no differences in test difficulty between the revised and existing tests
  • Post test driving – no difference in collision rates between the two trial groups (but slight reduction in near collisions)
  • Drivers on a telematics policy appear to have more collisions
  • ‘One in five drivers have a collision within six months of passing their test’ no longer appears to be true – it is now one in 10 or 11

09.45 – Associate professor Teresa Senserrick, Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research, University of New South Wales, Australia

Associate Professor Teresa Senserrick heads the novice road user research programme at TARS Research.

Teresa was trained in developmental psychology and has two decades of experience in health and safety research. Since focusing on road safety in 1999, she has become internationally renowned for her expertise in young and novice driver research, particularly regarding driver training, education and graduated licensing.

She has more than 200 publications, reports and presentations, and has been called upon to provide policy advice to several jurisdictions in Australia, the United States, Sweden and Argentina.

Presentation: Reducing young driver crashes: what should we be targeting?

  • Six out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction
  • Teens have risky definitions of ‘safe driving’
  • They are more likely to drive too fast, engage in secondary tasks (mobile phones etc), but less likely to drink-drive (but when they do the crash risk is very high)
  • Young drivers are at most risk due to developmental and lifestyle factors
  • Graduated licensing can reduce exposure to high-risk driving conditions
  • Driver education: focus should shift from risk awareness, knowledge & attitudes to personal empowerment & resilience
  • Licensing: focus on increasing experience and establishing low-risk driving habits as learners, and providing a low-risk environment to gain independent driving experience

09.35 – Welcome to the RAC

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, welcomes delegates to Young Driver Focus 2017.

09.15 – Welcome to the live feed

Welcome to the 2017 Young Driver Focus live feed. This year’s conference is set to get underway in approximately 20 minutes.

In the meantime, why not read an article previewing the event?



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    Reported collision are in fact only the tip of the iceberg. I went to many a collision when I was in the police service and found that about 8 out of 10 were minimal damage and no complaint of injury. So as there was not a complaint of any traffic violation, not a matter for the police. On advising drivers to inform their insurers the comments were in the main negative. It would be somewhat incredulous to believe that 100% of collisions of whatever nature are reported. In truth that is not the case.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It’s just a thought. I would expect that when you have a telematics box then any crash, no matter how small, will automatically be registered with the insurance company and hence the customer cannot avoid declaration. However, there may be many minor crashes where the costs associated with the crash may be less than the costs of subsequent loss of no-claims bonus or increase in insurance. Hence, some policyholders may wrongly believe that they do not need to inform their insurance company if bearing the cost themselves. So whilst there may be similar levels of crashes for telematics and non-telematics vehicles the reporting of crashes may well be skewed.

    Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire, 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Have just noticed a statement/claim from Dr Shaun Helman’s presentation above: “Drivers on a telematics policy appear to have more collisions” I’d be interested to find more information on that – anybody know the source if not TRL?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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