Articles Tagged ‘graduated licencing - Brake the road safety charity’

9,000 preventable injuries in last two years as government stalls on tackling young driver crashes

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Today (25 March 2015) marks two years since the government promised to overhaul young driver rules to tackle the devastating toll of deaths and injuries involving young drivers on UK roads.

It has been estimated that almost 9,000 injuries, 866 of them deaths or serious injuries, could have been prevented in this time if the government had introduced a system of graduated driver licensing [1].

Brake, the road safety charity, has condemned the government’s failure to deliver progress, and urged politicians of all parties to commit to putting young driver safety high on the political agenda early in the new parliament.

Brake is calling for the introduction of graduated driver licensing, which includes a minimum learner period (usually 12 months) and a post-test novice period with restrictions to limit exposure to risk, like a late-night curfew and restrictions on carrying young passengers. Such systems are used successfully in other countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and many US states. It is estimated it could prevent 400 deaths and serious injuries a year in the UK [2].

Graduated driver licensing has widespread backing from experts and public alike. Brake recently (12 February 2015) joined other road safety experts, academics and insurers in signing an open letter in the British Medical Journal demanding action. More than two thirds (68%) of the public are in favour [3].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said:“Tackling young driver crashes is one of the biggest challenges in ending the misery of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Young drivers are greatly overrepresented in serious and fatal crashes, and very often it is young people themselves whose lives are lost or who suffer horrific injuries. It’s an epidemic that has to end, and we know that graduated driver licensing works in reducing these crashes.

“Evidence from other countries, the weight of expert opinion and the balance of public support are all behind graduated driver licensing. This government has continually kicked this issue into the long grass and failed to deliver its long-promised green paper on young driver safety. There is no excuse for the next government to repeat this failure to act.”

Brake campaigns for graduated driver licensing to stop young driver crashes through its too young to die campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #tooyoungtodie.

Read more about graduated driver licensing and facts on young driver crashes.

Notes for editors

Young driver crashes: the facts

  • Drivers aged 17-19 make up only 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious crashes [4].
  • Drivers aged 16-19 are more than twice as likely to die in a crash as drivers aged 40-49 [5].
  • One in four 18-24 year olds (23%) crash within two years of passing their driving test [6].
  • Young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than young female drivers [7].

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Graduated driver licensing: a regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014
[2] ibid
[3] Young driver safety: a public attitude survey, RAC Foundation, 2014
[4] New research highlights need for graduated driving licensing, Transport Research Laboratory, 2014
[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014, table RAS30025
[6] Young drivers at risk, The AA, 2012
[7] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014, table RAS30011

Brake calls for compulsory rural driving lessons for learners

News from Brake
Wednesday 23 August, 2017

Road safety charity Brake is today calling for compulsory lessons on rural roads for learner drivers, as part of a graduated licensing system, to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

In 2015, the last year for which statistics are available, 120 young drivers lost their lives in crashes - 80 per cent of these occurring on rural roads, 16 per cent on urban roads and four per cent on motorways[1].

Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "High speeds, sharp bends, narrow lanes, risky overtaking and the presence of vulnerable road users like cyclists, make rural roads the most dangerous by far. The combination of rural roads and novice drivers is lethal - a staggering 80 per cent of all young car driver fatalities occur in rural locations.

"Brake is calling for a total overhaul of the learning to drive system to help cut fatalities and injuries. A graduated licensing system, including a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers - such as a zero drink-drive limit - will allow new drivers to build up more skills and experience over a longer period of time.

"This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries including Australia and New Zealand and could save some 400 lives a year if implemented in the UK.

"Brake is also calling for a review of rural speed limits and for 'Voluntary Intelligent Speed Adaptation', which helps drivers keep within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new cars. There is also the need for better and more affordable public transport, so fewer young people see starting driving in their teens as a necessity."

[Ends]

Notes to editors:

[1] Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results 2015, Department for Transport.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments as learner drivers set to have motorway lessons from 2018

News from Brake
Sunday 13 August, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced. The changes will come into effect from 2018, when learners will be allowed on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual control car. Commenting on the announcement, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Young drivers are involved in a high proportion of crashes that kill and seriously injure because of inexperience and the tendency of some to take risks. Improved training before and after getting a licence is essential to improving road safety.

"Rather than allowing learner drivers on the motorway, there should instead be a requirement for all newly-qualified drivers to receive mandatory lessons, including on the motorway, once they've passed their test. There needs to be much wider reform to the learning to drive system, including a minimum learning period and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers, such as a late night curfew. This graduated driver licensing approach has helped dramatically reduce road casualties in countries including Australia, and could save lives here in the UK too.

"There should also be better access to affordable public transport so fewer young people see starting driving in their teens as a necessity."

[ENDS]

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.e not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments as new driving test comes into effect

News from Brake
Friday, 1 December 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Car driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales are changing from Monday (4 December 2017). The new test will include the requirement to follow directions from a sat nav, answer vehicle safety questions while driving and perform different reversing manoeuvres. It will also feature a longer independent driving section [1].

Commenting on the changes, Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "One in four drivers aged 18-24 crash within two years of taking their test, which is why a greater overhaul of the learning to drive system is needed to reduce needless deaths and injuries [2].

"A graduated driver licensing system, including a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly qualified drivers − such as a zero drink-drive limit − will allow novice drivers to build their skills and experience over a longer period of time. This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries including Australia and New Zealand, and could save some 400 lives a year if implemented in the UK [3].

"There is also the need for better and more affordable public transport, so fewer young people see starting driving in their teens as a necessity."

/Ends

Notes to editors

[1] Driving test changes: December 2017, Department for Transport, 2017

[2] Young drivers at risk, The AA, 2012

[3] Graduated Driver Licensing: A regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014                                               

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Brake comments on learner drivers being permitted on motorways

News from Brake
Monday 4 June 2018
 
Brake urges the Government to protect young drivers as learners take to the motorways
 
From today (Monday 4 June), learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will be permitted to take driving lessons on motorways, alongside an approved driving instructor in a dual control car [1]. The move is part of the Government’s efforts to better prepare learner drivers for driving safely on the roads after passing their test.
 
Brake urges the Government go further to address the tragedy of young driver death on our roads and is calling for the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system across the UK. Brake recommends that such a system should include a 12-month learner period, an initial test, and then a two-year novice period when drivers can drive independently but with restrictions – such as a late-night driving curfew [2].
 
Commenting on the change, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“While today’s move is a small step in the right direction, a total overhaul in the way in which we learn to drive is urgently needed. Young people are disproportionality at risk on our roads – 7% of the driving population but involved in a fifth of all road deaths – and this is ultimately down to inexperience. Training on motorways is important, but with just 4% of crashes taking place on these roads, today’s changes fall well short.”
 
“Brake urges a solution which will deliver radical improvements. A Graduated Driver Licensing System includes a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions for newly qualified drivers and is proven to work; a Government report stated the public health benefits of GDL are indisputable and could prevent up to 9,000 casualties annually.”
 
“Improvements in UK road safety have stagnated in recent years and a step-change is required. GDL is proven to deliver for some of our most vulnerable road users and must be implemented as a matter of priority.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors:
 
 
 
References from quotes:
  • 17-24 full license holders = 2,784,703
  • All full license holders = 40,331,643
  • % of 17-24 license holders – 6.90%
  • Number of fatalities involving car drivers aged 17-24 = 354
  • Total road fatalities = 1,792
  • % of road fatalities involving car drivers aged 17-24 = 19.75%
  • Number of crashes on motorways = 5,405
  • Total road crashes = 136,621
  • % of crashes on motorways = 3.96%
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

Brake comments on news that the Government will look into Graduated Driver Licensing in the UK

News from Brake
Thursday, 8 February 2018
 
The Prime Minister has stated that she will ask the Department for Transport to look into the issue of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) in the UK, in response to a question from Jenny Chapman MP at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 7 February.
 
Commenting on the statement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Ensuring that novice drivers have the skills and experience to drive safely on all types of roads, and in all scenarios, is an urgent priority. Our current licensing system is not fit for purpose and throws newly-qualified drivers in at the deep-end, at great risk to themselves and others.
 
“We are encouraged that the Government will look into the issue of Graduated Driver Licensing, however, this process must result in positive change. Young and novice drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes [1] and the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system is critical to reverse this trend.
 
“Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice license, with restrictions in place for two years following on from the practical driving test [2]. We look forward to working with the Government on their review of this issue.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
 
Brake’s position on GDL
Brake recommends the following measures should be implemented to introduce Graduated Driver Licensing to the UK.
Learner drivers
  • Minimum learning period of one year before learner drivers can take their practical driving test, theory test and hazard awareness test.
  • The learner’s licence should not be fully valid until the learner driver has received a minimum of 10 hours’ professional tuition in a car with dual controls.
  • Learner drivers, as at present, must be supervised while driving, and the minimum age of accompanying drivers should be raised to 25.
  • Accompanying drivers should be registered as ‘approved accompanying drivers’ by completing a questionnaire to prove their suitability.
  • Learner drivers should have the same restrictions placed upon them as novice drivers (see below).
Novice drivers
  • Drivers should hold a novice licence for two years after passing a practical driving test. 
  • Novice drivers should be allowed to drive unsupervised, but with certain restrictions on their driving, including: 
    • Novice drivers should not carry passengers who are younger than 25 unless supervised. Novice drivers who are parents or carers and need to carry children should be exempt from this restriction.
    • Novice drivers should not drive between 11pm and 6am, unless supervised or travelling directly from home to work or school. 
    • Novice drivers should have a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml blood (Brake recommends this for all drivers). 
    • Novice drivers should not drive on motorways.
  • Novice drivers should be restricted in the size of engine they can drive.
  • Any driving offences, or failure to comply with the restrictions during this period, should result in automatic disqualification.
  • Novice drivers should be required to take a further 10 hours of professional tuition, during which they must drive on motorways and at night.
  • Novice drivers should be required to pass a second driving test at the end of the two year period to help ensure safe driving on all types of roads.

 

About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on NI Graduated Driver Licensing consultation outcome

News from Brake
Thursday 10 May 2018
 
The Driver & Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland has published its response to the consultation on Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) and changes to the practical driving test, setting out which proposals it intends to take forward. The consultation, which ran from November 2017 to January 2018, sought views on measures such as allowing learner drivers on to Motorways with Approved Driving Instructors and the programme of training drivers would follow as part of GDL. 
 
Commenting on the response, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Brake welcomes the move to implement Graduated Driver Licensing in Northern Ireland as an important first-step in improving the safety of novice drivers. We believe, however, that the proposals set out in the Driver & Vehicle Agency’s response do not go far enough and could still leave novice drivers ill-equipped to manage the dangers associated with driving. Research and international best practice has shown that the most effective system of Graduated Driver Licensing has a minimum learning period of one year, not the six months in the NI model, and that newly qualified drivers should have limited exposure to some of the highest risk situations, such as night-time driving, until completing further training and a second test.”
 
The Northern Irish Government will bring in reforms to implement Graduated Driver Licensing during 2019/2020. The Department for Transport announced that this will serve as a pilot with the potential to roll it out across the rest of the UK at a later date.
 
Mr Harris continued: “We welcome the progress in Northern Ireland but it is clear that we need action across the wider UK now. In 2016 almost 15% of road crashes were caused by drivers aged between 17-24 years old [1], with research showing that the combination of youth and inexperience makes younger drivers a high road safety risk. We know that Graduated Driver Licensing works - a Government commissioned report from 2013 said that in Great Britain 4,471 casualties and £224 million could be saved by its introduction [2] – so there is no reason to delay. The Government must act to stop the carnage on our roads and introduce a Graduated Driver Licensing system across the whole of the UK as a matter of priority.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on research that shows driving is seen as a greater threat than gun and knife crime for young people

News from Brake
Monday 23 July 2018
 
Research published today by the AA charitable trust shows that driving is now seen as a bigger threat to teenagers’ safety than gun and knife crime. When asked ‘What do you think is the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers?’ 17% of people answered with driving compared to just 11% ten years ago. Whilst the number of people who saw gun and knife crime as the biggest threat fell from 25% ten years ago to just 16% today.
 
Brake, the road safety charity, has long campaigned to tackle the issue of young drivers’ safety and is calling on the Government to implement a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system to end the tragedy of young driver death on our roads. Brake recommends that such a system should include a 12-month learner period, an initial test, and then a probationary period when drivers can drive independently but with restrictions – such as a late-night driving curfew.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
“With the perception of the dangers facing young drivers finally catching up to the reality, it is clear that the Government must take decisive action in order to protect young lives. 25 young drivers are killed or seriously injured on our roads every week and yet there is a proven solution which can prevent this, Graduated Driver Licencing.”
 
“Graduated Driver Licensing is proven to work and has public and parliamentary backing. We urge the Government to introduce this safer licensing system as a matter of priority; for far too long,  young lives have been ruined and lost on our roads.”
 
[ENDS]
 

Notes to editors:

Full release by the AA is below:

Driving rises up risk table for teenagers

  • Driving now seen as greater threat than gun and knife crime, according to the AA Charitable Trust
  • 10 years ago gun and knife crime was viewed as more dangerous than driving
  • AA Charitable Trust celebrating 10 years of award-winning road safety courses and campaigns
  • £20,000 worth of motorway driving courses available for free

Driving is now seen as a bigger threat to teenagers than gun and knife crime, according to research from the AA Charitable Trust on its tenth anniversary.

In the last ten years there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of people who think driving represents the greatest threat to teenage safety, rising from 11 per cent to 17 per cent.

This means it has risen above gun and knife crime in people’s perception of dangers to young people (which has dropped from 25% to 16%).

Drugs have remained at the top of the list (rising 31% to 39%), with drinking taking second place (dropped 25% to 19%).

What do you think is the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers?

 

10 years ago*

5 years ago**

Today***

Drugs

31%

35%

39%

Drinking

25%

28%

19%

Driving

11%

15%

17%

Gun and knife crime

25%

13%

16%

 

Darlington MP wins award for efforts to improve young driver safety

News from Brake
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
 
Jenny Chapman, Member of Parliament for Darlington, has been awarded the Brake and Direct Line Group Parliamentarian Award for July, for her campaigning efforts to save the lives of young drivers. In Britain, 25 young drivers are killed or seriously injured on our roads every week [1].
 
Jenny was inspired to campaign on the issue of young driver safety following a tragic crash in her Darlington constituency. Jenny has coordinated road safety groups, insurers and fellow parliamentarians, around this cause, with the goal of agreeing measures which can achieve cross-party support and make a positive change to the safety of the UK’s young drivers.
 
Jenny first raised the issue of young driver safety in a question to the Prime Minister on 7 February, proposing that the Government look at the merits of introducing a system of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) in the UK. Since then, Jenny has met with road safety groups, including Brake, to gain insight on the issue of young driver safety. This work bore fruit with the first meeting of the Young Driver Safety Group taking place in parliament on Tuesday, 26 June. The group aims to raise the profile and awareness of this issue over summer and gather support ahead of the Autumn Parliamentary session.
 
Young drivers are disproportionately at risk on our roads and Brake has long advocated introducing a system of GDL to address this through its ‘L for Later’ campaign [2]. GDL is a system which includes a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions for newly qualified drivers and is proven to work; a Government report stated the public health benefits of GDL are indisputable and could prevent up to 9,000 casualties annually [3]. In Britain, those aged 17–24 make up only 7% of licence holders but represent nearly 20% of drivers killed or seriously injured in car crashes [4]. Brake is calling for urgent action to stop the tragedy of young driver death and injury on our roads.
 
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
“Jenny is leading the charge for young driver safety in parliament and we thank her for her efforts. A fifth of all drivers killed or seriously injured on our roads are between the ages of 17-24 – that’s more than two young drivers being killed or seriously injured on our roads every day. We must act now to put an end to this daily tragedy and rally support behind Graduated Driver Licensing, a safety measure which is proven to work and reduce young driver crashes. Gaining cross-party support for proposals on young driver safety is vital and we hope other parliamentarians follow Jenny’s example and give their backing to this crucial campaign.”
 
Commenting, Jenny Chapman MP said:
“As a parent I know only too well the desire to keep our young drivers safe on the road as they take their first steps into adulthood. Far too often young drivers are caught up in road collisions that result in fatal consequences for the driver, passengers, pedestrians or other road users. We need to work together to ensure our young drivers have the skills and experience to navigate the UK’s busy road network.”
 
“I look forward to championing young driver safety in Parliament, with the support of Brake and the many great organisations who have worked tirelessly on this issue for many years. I hope my fellow Parliamentarians are inspired to follow suit.”
 
Gus Park, Managing Director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, said:
“We fully support any measures that increase the learning of young drivers and gives them more time to gain real experience on the road in a more controlled manner. The implementation of a Graduated Drivers Licence would make a real difference to the driving behaviour and habits of young people, particularly in the critical period just after passing their test, and more importantly, reduce catastrophic accidents and save lives.
 
“Young drivers make up only seven per cent of licence holders but are involved in twenty per cent of road deaths and serious injuries. This is the primary reason why young drivers have always paid higher car insurance premiums. If these statistics can be reversed through the implementation of a Graduated Drivers Licence, as we have seen in other countries, not only will young lives be saved, but it will have a positive effect on young drivers’ premiums.”
 
[ENDS]
 
For further information contact: news@brake.org.uk
 
Notes to Editors:
[2] Brake’s L for Later campaign info can be found here and Brake position on Graduated Driving Licensing can be found here.
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
 
About Direct Line Insurance Group plc
 Direct Line Group is headquartered in Bromley. Through its number of well known brands the Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. The Group also provides insurance services for third parties through its partnerships division, Direct Line Group Partnerships. In the commercial sector, the Group's NIG and Direct Line for Business operations offer insurance products for businesses distributed through brokers or direct, respectively.

David Stewart, MSP for Highlands and Islands, December 2010

dstewart_2Brake and Direct Line have awarded Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart the Parliamentarian of the Year Award (National Campaigner) for his campaign to introduce Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) and improve the safety of young drivers.

In June 2010, David launched a campaign group, ‘North of Scotland Driving Awareness Team’ to stop young people dying on Scottish roads. David’s interest began after hearing about a crash involving young drivers in which Callum Matheson, 17, and Ahlee Jackson, 17, died.  He met with Callum’s mother, Diane Matheson. David was moved by Diane’s story and felt he had to set up a campaign for GDL. Among his demands are legislation to make it compulsory for young drivers who have just passed their test display the ‘P’ plate on their vehicles for 90 days and that young drivers complete a one day pass plus driving course. David also wants to look at the possibility of limiting the number and age of young passengers being carried in a vehicle by a new driver. The messages of the campaign are ‘Sensible Driving – Always Arriving’ and ‘Your Passengers – Your Responsibility.’

In August 2010, David held a meeting with the Road Haulage Association, Advanced Driving Instructors and other interested parties. They discussed how best to improve road safety for young introduce people throughout the Scottish region. They agreed that they would work together to raise awareness of the issue and get the message across to young drivers and passengers. By September 2010 there were many initiatives already being put into practice. In one such initiative, posters were displayed in 180 Stagecoach buses throughout the highlands. The posters addressed young driver behaviour and urged passengers to have the confidence to get out of a car if they feel worried about how the vehicle is being driven.

As well as setting up the campaign and working with industry and the community, David also wrote to the Scottish Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson and Westminster based Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond. David has also raised two motions in the Scottish Parliament (S3M-07073, S3M-07123) and he has asked the Scottish Government a series of Parliamentary Questions (PQs) on this issue (S3W-36632, S3W-36633, S3W-36634,S3W-34835, S3W-34836, S3W-34837).

In October 2010, Doctor Sarah Jones from Cardiff University gave further backing for the campaign. Dr Jones carried out several years of research into Graduated Driver Licensing, revealing that 22 lives each year could be saved if GDL was introduced in Scotland. GDL could also prevent 1,056 road injuries and save the Scottish economy £80 million.

On 13 December 2010, Miss Inverness helped David Stewart launch ‘Deadly Mates’, their newest campaign, by revealing the ‘Deadly Mates’ campaign car which carried the team to events across Scotland to educate young drivers. ‘Deadly Mates’ leaflets were also handed out at the launch.

His team then got busy urging the public to sign a petition calling the Scottish Government to put in place GDL for new drivers. On 27 December 2010, the petition went online after 500 signatures were collected by team members on the streets in just six hours. To sign the petition, go to www.sensibledriving.org.uk

 Mr Stewart commented : "I am delighted to receive this award but it is not only for me but for my campaign team. Making our roads safer for drivers of all ages and pedestrians is a cause I am proud to follow and I will continue to try to do this." 

Julie Townsend, Brake’s campaigns director, said: “Nearly one in five young Scottish people who tragically die, do so in entirely avoidable road crashes[1]. That is why Graduated Driver Licensing is such an important bit of legislation. We know it will save lives so there is no excuse for delay. We applaud David Stewart for his concerted efforts to push forward young driver safety.”


[1] Vital Events Reference Tables 2009, Table 6.2 Deaths, numbers and rates, by sex, age and cause, General Registry Office, Scotland, 2009  

Gordon Prentice, MP for Pendle, October 2008

october08Gordon Prentice MP has been campaigning to stop the carnage of young people on the roads. He joined the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign and has been calling on the Government to take action.

Gordon and the Lancashire Telegraph believe that the Government’s plans to tackle young driver deaths by revising testing procedures and introducing a new qualification preparing young people for driver training, do not go nearly far enough. Gordon would like to see a graduated licensing system introduced, which restricts newly qualified drivers until they prove their competence. The restrictions he is calling for include limiting driving in the evenings, limits on carrying young passengers and a ban on driving powerful vehicles.

In July, Gordon secured and took part in a debate in Westminster Hall urging the Government to introduce graduated driving licences for young drivers and criticising the Government for not following the Transport Select Committee’s guidelines on introducing graduated driving licences. Click here to read a transcript of the debate.

When Geoff Hoon took over as Transport Secretary, Gordon Prentice wrote to him reiterating the urgent need to tackle young driver deaths and urging him to support proposals for a new graduated licence scheme which Gordon describes as “a sure fire way of cutting road deaths”.

Additionally, Gordon has backed an initiative introduced by the Parish Council in his constituency which funds 10 young drivers to take the Institute of Advanced Motoring’s advanced driving test. Gordon hopes that this test will give young drivers valuable experience and prevent the risk-taking that often leads to young driver deaths.

Gordon says: “The Government has, unfortunately, ignored compelling evidence and has rejected calls for graduated licences for new drivers. All my Parliamentary colleagues in East Lancashire, including Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, are signed up to the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign which regularly throws a spotlight on the terrible carnage on our roads. The campaign calls for graduated licences as one part of the solution. I have no doubt that if Jack were Transport Secretary we would see a change in policy.”

Click on the relevant links for a factsheet on young drivers and information about Brake’s campaign for graduated driving licences. To read Brake’s response to the Transport Select Committee’s report, which recommended the introduction of graduated licences, please click here.

Graduated driver licensing

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is a system that allows new drivers to build up their driving skills and experience gradually, in well-defined, structured stages. Various forms of GDL are already in place in many countries worldwide.

Brake recommends GDL as a vital, life-saving policy because young drivers in all countries are known to be at very high risk of serious and fatal crashes, and GDL helps to address this. This is down to many reasons, including young drivers’ overconfidence, lack of experience, and propensity for risk-taking. GDL addresses these by providing a minimum-length supervised learning period and limiting exposure to some of the highest risk situations, such as night-time driving, for newly qualified drivers.

Learn more: Read our fact page on the risks faced by young drivers.

What is the evidence for GDL?

GDL is already in place in many countries worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and many US states [1]. There is a wealth of evidence from these countries that GDL is effective in reducing young driver casualties, for example:

  • Following the introduction of GDL in New Zealand, car crash injuries reduced by 23% for 15-19 year olds and 12% for 20-24 year olds [2].
  • 16 year-old drivers in the US who are subject to GDL have 37% fewer crashes per year, and 17% fewer crashes per mile driven [3].
  • It is estimated that more than 500 lives could be saved annually in the USA if all states adopted the toughest graduated driver licensing provisions [4].

In Britain, it is estimated that GDL could prevent more than 400 deaths and serious injuries every year, and save the economy £200m annually through crash prevention [5]. Research suggests the public would willingly accept such a system, especially if introduced alongside good communications explaining the benefits of protecting young drivers from the situations where they face the most risk. A survey by RAC Foundation found two thirds (68%) of UK adults, and 41% of young drivers, support the introduction of GDL [6].

A survey by Brake and Direct Line found widespread support for various common elements of GDL. 84% of drivers are in favour of a minimum learning period, 70% support a zero tolerance alcohol limit for novice drivers, and 90% support mandatory lessons on motorways and in difficult conditions for all learners [7].

What should a GDL system in the UK include?

To reduce young driver casualties and bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, Brake recommends the following measures should be implemented to introduce GDL to the UK.

Learner drivers

  • Minimum learning period of one year before learner drivers can take their practical driving test, theory test and hazard awareness test.
  • The learner’s licence should not be fully valid until the learner driver has received a minimum of 10 hours’ professional tuition in a car with dual controls.
  • Learner drivers, as at present, must be supervised while driving, and the minimum age of accompanying drivers should be raised to 25.
  • Accompanying drivers should be registered as ‘approved accompanying drivers’ by completing a questionnaire to prove their suitability.
  • Learner drivers should have the same restrictions placed upon them as novice drivers (see below).

Novice drivers

  • Drivers should hold a novice licence for two years after passing a practical driving test. 
  • Novice drivers should be allowed to drive unsupervised, but with certain restrictions on their driving, including: 
    • Novice drivers should not carry passengers who are younger than 25 unless supervised. Novice drivers who are parents or carers and need to carry children should be exempt from this restriction.
    • Novice drivers should not drive between 11pm and 6am, unless supervised or travelling directly from home to work or school. 
    • Novice drivers should have a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml blood (Brake recommends this for all drivers). 
    • Novice drivers should not drive on motorways.
  • Novice drivers should be restricted in the size of engine they can drive.
  • Any driving offences, or failure to comply with the restrictions during this period, should result in automatic disqualification.
  • Novice drivers should be required to take a further 10 hours of professional tuition, during which they must drive on motorways and at night.
  • Novice drivers should be required to pass a second driving test at the end of the two year period to help ensure safe driving on all types of roads.
Take action: Support Brake’s too young to die campaign to implement GDL in the UK.

What risks should GDL address?

The recommended system outlined above has been designed to address the following common risks for young drivers.

Inexperience

Research shows that the younger and less experienced a driver is, the greater their crash risk [8]. Under the UK licensing system, drivers as young as 17 can become fully licensed in a few months or even weeks. 89% of young UK drivers complete less than the recommended 40 hours of driving lessons before taking their test [9]. This gives them little time to develop experience before being allowed out on the road unsupervised. 

A minimum learning period of one year before taking a theory or practical test means that all learner drivers would have time to develop experience under full supervision before being allowed out alone. A novice driver stage would allow young drivers to drive independently while protecting them from high-risk situations at this early stage in their driving career.

Night time driving 

Research has found that night-time curfews are one of the most effective components of GDL for reducing young driver deaths [10], as young drivers are at much higher risk of crashing at night. As research shows that driving for recreational purposes is the main night-time risk [11], journeys to and from work or school/college could be treated as exceptions, which would prevent unfair restrictions on young people who live in rural areas and have less access to public transport and those who do shift work. 

Passengers

Young drivers are more likely to crash if they have their peers in the car with them, due to peer pressure and drivers ‘showing off’ to their passengers, as well as passengers causing distraction [12]. This also means that young driver crashes are more likely to result in multiple deaths and serious injuries [13]. Restricting the number of passengers a novice driver can carry would help to keep young drivers and passengers safe. Research from the US has found that GDL reduces crash rates of 17 year-old drivers carrying passengers by 53% [14].

Drink driving

Young drivers who crash are twice as likely to be impaired by alcohol as older drivers who crash [15]. Brake campaigns for a zero tolerance drink driving limit for all drivers (20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, down from the current UK level of 80mg/100ml). However, while a higher limit remains, Brake believes a zero tolerance limit should be implemented for novice drivers as a matter of urgency, due to their higher risk overall and over-representation in alcohol-related crashes [16].

Learn more: Read our advice for all drivers on these and other key risks.

[1] For details of what each GDL system entails, see: Graduated Driver Licensing—A Review of Some of the Current Systems, Transport Research Laboratory, 2001

[2] Graduated Driver Licensing—A Review of Some of the Current Systems, Transport Research Laboratory, 2001

[3] The association of graduated driver licensing with miles driven and fatal crash rates per miles driven among adolescents, West Virginia University, 2014

[4] How to make young driver laws even better, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2012

[5] Graduated Driver Licensing: A regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014

[6] Two-thirds support GDL to improve young driver safety, RAC Foundation, 2014

[7] Drivers young and old back plans for minimum learner period to tackle crashes, Brake and Direct Line, 2013

[8] Cohort study of learner and novice drivers: Part 3, Accidents, offences and driving experience in the first three years of driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 1995.

[9] 89% of young UK drivers complete less than 40 hours of driving lessons, RoadSafe, 2012

[10] Graduated driver licensing can cut fatal young driver crashes by up to 45%, Transport Research Board, 2013

[11] Young driver accidents in the UK: the influence of age, experience, and time of day, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2006

[12] Young drivers at higher risk of crashing when carrying young passengers, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2012

[13] Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[14] Graduated Driver Licensing reduces crash rates when carrying passengers, The University of Connecticut, 2012

[15] Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[16] Involvement of 21-26 year olds in drink-driving behaviour, Monash University Accident Research Centre, 2003


Page last updated: October 2014

Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, November 2006

Iain supported Brake’s Road Safety Week in November by calling for a graduated licensing scheme to be implemented. Graduated driver licensing means dividing the learning period into several stages and phasing in driving privileges gradually to enable new drivers to gain experience and skills before they gain a full driving licence. Iain tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 2899) in favour of graduated licensing and encouraged fellow MPs to sign. He also called for a debate on the issue as well as working with the media to raise awareness on the topic, including being interviewed by ITV Tyne Tees news. Iain explains exactly what a graduated licensing system could entail, and why he thinks it is necessary:

“I think this country should consider introducing a graduated driver licensing scheme that would restrict the size of engine, the number of passengers that could be carried and the types of road that can be driven along, for young and new drivers. One in eight people holding driving licences is aged 25 or under, yet more than a quarter of drivers killed are from this age group. The statistics speak for themselves. The point is to ensure that young people and novice drivers are safe, and that when driving they are not a risk to themselves, passengers or pedestrians.”

Click here to visit Iain’s website and read more about his views on this issue and click here for information on Brake’s ‘Licensed to kill?’ campaign, which is calling for the introduction of graduated licensing.

Other road safety work by Iain included attending and speaking at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Road Safety, of which he is chair, and tabling a written question concerning the discontinuation of funding for the BrakeCare bereavement pack for families bereaved through a road crash.

Increase in road casualties should be wake up call for politicians, says charity

Thursday 5 February 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Road safety charity Brake has expressed dismay at an increase in road casualties announced today, and is calling on all political parties to commit to three vital road safety policies, especially to protect pedestrians, cyclists, children and young people. The figures show that deaths and serious injuries on UK roads increased by 4% in the year ending September 2014, with deaths up by 1%.

In total, 1,730 people were killed and 22,630 seriously injured on UK roads in the year ending September 2014, up from 1,711 deaths and 21,728 serious injuries in the previous year. Casualties of all severities are also up by 5%, from 184,087 to 192,910.

Casualties are up for all types of road user, with child and cyclist casualties of particular concern:

  • Child deaths and serious injuries are up by 3% to 2,060, with casualties of all severities up by 6% to 16,640 – the first rise in rolling year comparisons for 20 years.
  • Cyclist deaths and serious injuries are up 8% to 3,500.

Brake is calling on all political parties to make three, key general election manifesto commitments to get casualties falling again and enable everyone to get around safely, sustainably and actively:

  • Change the default urban speed limit to 20mph to protect people on foot and bike, and allow everyone to walk and cycle without fear. Read about the GO 20 campaign.
  • Introduce graduated driver licensing, to allow new drivers to build skills and experience gradually while exposed to less danger. Read about the too young to die campaign.
  • Introduce a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, to stamp out the menace of drink driving once and for all. Read about the not a drop, not a drag campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“These casualty increases are the tragic result of a failure of ambition. They come on the back of three years of flat-lining road death and serious injury figures, during which the government congratulated itself on having ‘some of the safest roads in the world’, rather than making forward thinking decisions and setting targets to secure further reductions. We need a commitment to a long-term vision of nobody being killed or seriously injured on our roads, rather than settling for the status quo. Every road casualty causes appalling suffering, and every one can be prevented, but only if we make the right moves.

“Global research and experience clearly points to the policies that prevent road casualties and the resultant suffering, and enable people to get around through healthy and sustainable means. Based on this evidence, we’re appealing to all political parties to include three key life-saving measures in manifestos: graduated driver licensing, a 20mph default urban speed limit, and a zero-tolerance drink drive limit. We’re in no doubt these measures would put us back on the path of stopping needless loss of life on our roads, and creating safer streets and communities for all.”

Brake provides support for people bereaved and injured in road crashes. Find out more atwww.brake.org.uk/support.

Notes for editors

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, August 2010

rogerwilliamsRoger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has won Brake and Direct Line’s Parliamentarian of the Month Award for his campaign to introduce Graduated Driver Licensing.

Mr Williams has long been concerned by the number of young people who are killed or seriously injured in road crashes. As an MP, and in his personal life, he has witnessed the devastating effects that road crashes have on families and the wider community.

Early in 2010, he was approached by Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University who provided a compelling case for the introduction of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to tackle disproportionately high number of crashes that involve young drivers. To read more about GDL, click here. To read about Dr Jones’ research, click here.

On 8 June 2010, Mr Williams forwarded an Early Day Motion on GDL, calling on the Government to introduce a pilot scheme in the UK to assess the impact it would have on road safety. He drew attention to the fact that it had been successful in reducing casualties in other countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

He followed up his call with a meeting with the Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, on 3 August to further discuss the possibility of Government action to pilot GDL. He was joined at the meeting by Dr Jones.

They discussed GDL as a way of helping new young drivers to improve their skills and increase their driving experience, whilst reducing exposure to the most dangerous driving situations, such as driving at night or with similar aged passengers.

The Minister was keen to see if a graduated system could be introduced via the insurance companies, by them offering substantially reduced premiums to people who volunteer to become intermediate drivers after passing their driving test. He will now raise the issue with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and some of the larger insurance companies.

Mr Williams was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and has vowed to keep the pressure up to ensure that GDL is trialled in the UK.

Roger Williams MP said: ““I am delighted to be given this award by Brake. There are far too many young people who are seriously or fatally injured in road crashes and I am pleased that GDL is being considered as a way to reduce this as it is essential that young drivers have the necessary skills and experience to be safe on Britain’s roads.

“I would also like to commend Brake for the excellent work that they do on this issue.”

Julie Townsend, Brake’s Campaigns Director, said: “We are really pleased that the Coalition Government intends to address the appalling number of deaths and injuries on our roads that involve young drivers. We urge the Government to act quickly to set up a trial in partnership with the insurance industry. Evidence from other countries shows that GDL is effective in cutting the number of young lives that are lost on roads. There is not a moment to waste.”

Tough tests now for the UK

One in eight licence holders in Britain is under 25, but one in four drivers who die on our roads are in this age group, often taking their young girlfriends and mates and other innocent road users to their grave too. You can obtain a provisional licence at 17, and must pass a theory test and a practical driving test in order to obtain a full driving licence. This isn’t enough. Brake wants ‘graduated licensing’ to allow novice drivers to build up their driving skills and experience gradually. Brake wants three stages: Stage 1 Learner period for a minimum of 12 months; Stage 2 Novice period for a minimum of two years during which time there will be restrictions placed on the driver (such as not driving late at night); Stage 3 Full licence. We also want compulsory curriculum education on the dangers of driving.

Take action

Run 2young2die workshops with young people near you
Help young people stay safer by following our 2young2die advice

Read more

Young drivers

Young drivers (17-24 years old) are at a much higher risk of crashing than older drivers. Drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of UK licence holders [1], but are involved in 9% of fatal and serious crashes where they are the driver [1a].

Data on British drivers shows that:

  • Drivers aged 16-19 are a third more likely to die in a crash than drivers aged 40-49 [2].
  • One in four 18-24 year olds (23%) crash within two years of passing their driving test [3].
  • Young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than young female drivers [4].
Take action: Support Brake’s L for Later campaign to reduce young driver deaths.

Why are young drivers more at risk?

Research shows that the combination of youth and inexperience puts younger drivers at high risk. Their inexperience means they have less ability to spot hazards, and their youth means they are particularly likely to take risks. In this way, crash risk not only reduces over time with experience but also is higher for drivers who start driving at a younger age [5].

Below are some of the specific characteristics of young drivers that put them at high risk of crashes.

Over-confidence

Young people quickly pick up the physical skills of driving and, as a result, feel they have mastered it and are often over-confident about their driving ability. However, while the practical skills of driving can be mastered quickly, some (less obvious) skills such as hazard perception require more experience [6]. This means young drivers may think they are in control when they are actually driving unsafely [7], and become more likely to take risks as they believe their skills are improving [8]. Research has found that young drivers who show overconfidence in self-assessment of their skills are more likely to crash in their first two years of driving than those who are insecure about their driving skills [9].

Poor assessment of hazards

Although some hazards on the road are easy to identify, there are some situations where hazards are not immediately obvious. It often takes experience to notice these hidden hazards, so inexperienced young drivers may not notice them and react in time. Research has shown young drivers show poorer attention, visual awareness, hazard recognition and avoidance, and are less able to judge appropriate speed for circumstances [10]. 

Driving requires constantly balancing the attention needed for practical tasks such as steering and changing gears, and more cognitively demanding tasks such as hazard identification [11]. Because of their inexperience young drivers need to concentrate more on practical tasks, so are slower to switch between tasks and slower to react to hazards [12].

Prevalent risk-taking

Brake research has found that young drivers are more likely to take many of the most serious risks, including speeding, overtaking blind, driving on drugs, and not wearing seat belts [13]. This may be because the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that helps control impulses and emotions and assesses risk, is not fully developed until your mid-20s [14].

Young people also underestimate certain high-risk behaviours. For example, research has shown that young drivers are less likely than older drivers to rate speeding as high risk [15]. 

Take action: Run a community campaign with young people, with Brake's help.

Common risky behaviours

Speeding

Excessive or inappropriate speed is known to be a key contributory factor in crashes involving young drivers in the UK [16] and elsewhere. Research has found that a third of fatal young driver crashes in the USA are speed-related [17].

Learn more: Read our fact pages on the risks of speeding.

Drink and drug driving

Drivers in their 20s have the highest rates of both drink and drug driving crashes [18]. Young drivers who crash are twice as likely to be impaired by alcohol as older drivers who crash, and this is far more common among young men than young women [19]. The prevalence of drug driving is harder to measure due to inconsistent reporting, but one study found that almost one in 10 (9%) of 17-24 year olds in the UK admit having driven on drugs [20].

Learn more: Read our fact pages on drink driving and drug driving.

Not wearing seat belts

Young drivers and passengers are less likely to always wear seat belts [21], and may not belt up when in a car with friends due to peer pressure. American research has found that seat belt use by young drivers decreases as the number of young passengers they carry increases [22].

Learn more: Read our fact page on seat belts and crash protection.

Mobile phones

Young drivers need to concentrate more on driving than more experienced drivers, which makes them more susceptible to distraction, for example from mobile phones [23]. Despite this, evidence suggests young drivers are more likely than older drivers to use their mobile phones at the wheel: a Brake survey found that 19% of young drivers admitted texting at the wheel at least once a month, compared with 11% of older drivers taking this risk [24]. American research has found that 80% of young drivers make or receive phone calls while driving and 72% text [25].

Learn more: Read our fact page on the risks of distraction.

Other risk factors

Carrying passengers

Research shows that peer pressure can encourage bad driving and result in drivers ‘showing off’ to their passengers and taking more risks. 16-17 year-old drivers are up to four times more likely to die in a crash when carrying young passengers than when driving alone, but 62% less likely when carrying older adult passengers, indicating it is peer pressure rather than simply the presence of passengers that raises the risk [26]. Young passengers can also cause distraction: teenage drivers are six times more likely to have a serious incident when there is loud conversation in the vehicle [27].

Driving at night

Young drivers have a higher proportion of crashes in the evenings and early mornings. This is particularly true for young male drivers: in the UK, male drivers aged 17-20 are seven times more likely to crash than all male drivers, but between the hours of 2am and 5am their risk is 17 times higher [28]. Young drivers’ high risk at night is thought to be because they are most likely to be driving for recreational purposes, and more likely to be drunk or drugged, or taking risks such as speeding due to peer pressure [29]. It may also be because drivers at night are more likely to be driving tired [30].

Driving at night also requires extreme care. Young drivers may be under the impression that because roads are quieter at night it is safer for them to speed or pay less attention. In fact, driving at night takes more care due to poorer visibility, and greater likelihood of drink drivers or drunk pedestrians on the roads. 

Learn more:Read our fact page on the risks of driving tired.

Unsafe vehicles

Studies have found that young drivers involved in crashes tend to be driving older vehicles [31]. Young drivers often drive older, potentially unsafe vehicles as these are cheaper. This is risky because older vehicles are less safe: they have less advanced crash protection, so crashes involving older vehicles are more likely to be fatal [32].

Learn more: Read our fact page on vehicle maintenance.

What can be done to improve the safety of young people?

To help young people be safer on our roads, we need a better driver training and testing system, better alternatives to driving for young people, and investment in monitoring technology for young drivers. These recommendations are outlined below.

Graduated driver licensing

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) allows new drivers to build up their driving skills and experience gradually through a more staged and structured approach to learning to drive, including a minimum learning period followed by a post-test novice driver period with licence restrictions. This restricted novice period helps to limit the exposure of new drivers to the dangerous situations highlighted above, including driving at night and carrying passengers. Graduated driver licensing has been shown to be effective in reducing casualties in numerous other countries [33].

Learn more: Read our fact page on graduated driver licensing.

Provide better alternatives to driving

Because of young people’s propensity for risk-taking, due to the late development of the brain’s frontal lobe (see ‘increased risk-taking’, above), the younger you are when you get a driving licence the greater the risk. A UK study predicted that young people would have 9% fewer crashes in their first year of driving if they delayed learning to drive until 18 years old rather than 17, and a further 8% fewer if they delayed until 19 years old [34].

Encouraging young people to delay or avoid learning to drive can therefore have a significant impact on safety. Many young people learn to drive as soon as possible because they feel they have little other option for getting around. A Brake and Direct Line survey found almost half of drivers (48%), and three in ten young people (28%), think public transport is not good enough to provide a realistic alternative to driving in their area [35]. Brake believes improving access to and affordability of public transport, and walking and cycling routes to workplaces and colleges, should be a priority for central government and local authorities.

Learn more: Read our fact page on sustainable and active travel.

Monitor and influence young drivers through technology

Some insurers offer ‘black box’ technology to young drivers. These devices monitor their speed and the times they are on the road, and can be used to set curfews so young drivers are not able to drive during high-risk hours, i.e. late at night. Young drivers abiding by these rules can be given discounts on their insurance, which has been shown to be an effective incentive to reduce young driver speeds [36].

Black boxes can also be used to allow parents to monitor young drivers’ behaviour: as well as providing peace of mind for the parents and guardians of young drivers, parental monitoring has been found to reduce risky driving [37].

Voluntary codes

In the US, parent/young driver agreements are popular. The new driver is allowed to drive the family car or their own car, unsupervised, if they agree to certain conditions for the first year or two of driving. The conditions include restrictions on carrying passengers and driving at night, similar to formal restrictions imposed under GDL (as above). Although not legally binding, parents could enforce the rules by stating, for example, that their teenager is not allowed to drive for a week if they break any of the rules.

Learn more: Download a sample Safe Driving Agreement produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Take action: if you’re a young person or work with young people, get involved in Brake’s work promoting safe and sustainable road use among this age group.

[1] Full and provisional driving licences by age and gender, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, 2015

[1a] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS30011

[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS30025

[3] Young drivers at risk, The AA, 2012

[4] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS30011

[5] Cohort Study of learner and Novice Drivers: Part 3, Accidents, Offences and Driving Experience in the First Three Years of Driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 1995

[6] Effects of higher-order driving skill training on young, inexperienced drivers, The University of Waikato, 2011

[7] Young driver accidents in the UK: the influence of age, experience, and time of day, The University of Nottingham, 2006

[8] Young drivers make fewer steering errors but take more risks as they gain experience, Centre for Automotive Safety Research, 2012

[9] A longitudinal study of calibration in young novice drivers, SWOV, 2010

[10] Young novice drivers: careless or clueless? Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2003

[11] Driver control theory: from task difficulty homeostasis to risk allostasis. In Porter, B. (Ed.), Handbook of Traffic Psychology, 2011

[12] Young driver characteristics and capabilities, Federal Highway Administration, 2001

[13] Young Drivers, Brake and Direct Line, 2012

[14] The adolescent brain: why teenagers think and act differently, EDinformatics, 2009

[15] Accident risk and risk taking behaviour among younger drivers, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 1986

[16] Impact of education, training and publicity on young and emerging drivers, Devon County Council, 2010

[17] A third of fatal young driver crashes in the USA are speed-related, Governors Highway Safety Association, 2013

[18] Self-reported drink and drug driving: Finding from the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2012/13, Department for Transport, 2014

[19] Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[20] Young drug-drivers 'on the rise', RAC, 2012

[21] CCIS final reports on crash analysis, Cooperative Crash Injury Study, 2008

[22] Factors related to seat belt use among fatally injured teenage drivers, Journal of Safety Research, 2004

[23] Reaction times of drivers distracted by mobile phone conversations, Queensland University of Technology, 2013

[24] Driver distraction, Brake and Direct Line, 2014

[25] 80% of young novice drivers in the USA make or receive phone calls while driving, National Institutes of Health, 2013

[26] Young drivers at higher risk of crashing when carrying young passengers, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2012

[27] Distracted Driver Behaviors and Distracting Conditions Among Adolescent Drivers, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2014

[28] Night-time Accidents, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London, 2005

[29] Reported road accidents involving young car drivers: Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[30] Fatigue and Road Safety: A Critical Analysis of Recent Evidence, UK Department for Transport, 2011

[31] CCIS final reports on crash analysis, Cooperative Crash Injury Study, 2008

[32] How Vehicle Age and Model Year Relate to Driver Injury Severity in Fatal Crashes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013

[33] Graduated Driver Licensing—A Review of Some of the Current Systems, Transport Research Laboratory, 2001

[34] Cohort Study of learner and Novice Drivers: Part 3, Accidents, Offences and Driving Experience in the First Three Years of Driving, Transport Research Laboratory, 1995

[35] Are you ready to drive? Brake and Direct Line, 2013

[36] Effects of Pay-As-You-Drive vehicle insurance on young drivers’ speed choice, The University of Groningen, 2011

[37] Teenage drivers less likely to take risks driving when incidents are reported to parents, National Institutes of Health, USA, 2013


Page last updated: October 2014