Are we equipping young drivers to be safe?

by Matthew Longman on 11th October 2013

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As I drove into work this morning I heard on the radio that the government was seriously considering the age at which a driver can take to the road. The attention grabbing headline was that teenagers would not be able to get behind the wheel until aged 18 and restrictions would be put into place at night.

The goal of the change in policy is to reduce the number of accidents and resulting injuries and deaths caused by young and newly qualified drivers.

The Dept of Transport states in a recent report that:

“Male drivers under the age of 30, particularly those under the age of 21, were over-represented in speed-related collisions. Drivers/riders of cars and motorcycles were over-represented compared with drivers of other vehicles, as were drivers of older vehicles. Drivers of sports cars and hatchbacks were over­represented, as were vehicles containing two or more occupants.”

And when you look at the data relating to collisions attributed to inappropriate speed in Tableau Desktop, we see that over half of all accidents are down to poor cornering and loss of control of the vehicle.

Tableau

Data sourced from Dept for Transport – Road Safety Research Report No. 117

This leads me to the conclusion that perhaps if we want to reduce the number of accidents caused by young drivers we should reconsider at the approach we take to driver training.

I know for a fact that the vast majority of my own lessons and test took place in urban areas with heavy traffic and low speed limits. As soon as I passed my test I spent many an evening driving on unlit back roads with a few mates.

Perhaps we should provide better training for our young, inexperienced drivers and ensure the testing is consistent with the varying conditions that they will face day to day.