Articles Tagged ‘young drivers - 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

Advice for parents and families

As a parent, you will have understandable road safety concerns for your child which are likely to change as your child gets older. Road crashes are the biggest cause of death among 5-25 year-olds. But there are key steps you can take to help protect your child. This page provides simple advice from your child's birth to reaching the age when they may start learning to drive or be a passenger with other young drivers.

You can also read our advice for children and teenagers.

And why not make the Brake Pledge as a family, to show your commitment to road safety?

If you work with infants, either as a childminder, in a pre-school, play group or nursery, you might be interested in running a Beep Beep! Day. Find out more.

KIDS IN CARS

Child seats

✔ Never hold a child in your arms in a vehicle - use a modern child seat suitable for their size and weight. Keep using a child or booster seat appropriate for your child’s size until they’re 150cm tall. Buy one with the United Nations E mark or BS Kitemark and don’t use second-hand.

✔ Follow the fitting instructions exactly. If possible, fit the seat in the middle of the back of your car. If you need to use a taxi, book one you can fit your baby seat into.

à Take a look at our letter to parents on 2017 car seat law changes.

à Read more advice on baby seats and child restraints.

Safe vehicles and safe driving

✔ The safety of your child in cars also depends on the protection provided by the vehicle. If you're buying a car, check out its crash test rating and buy the safest you can.

✔ The other critical factor is your driving. So stay well within speed limits, never drive after drinking any alcohol or when stressed, tired or distracted, and switch off your phone.

à Make the Brake Pledge to commit to safe driving.

Accepting lifts from friends and relatives

✔ It is just as important that your child is appropriately restrained in other people's cars, and driven slowly and safely. If you are unsure, don't let them go. In some situations it might be socially awkward, but the safety of your child must always be priority.

FAMILIES ON FOOT

Buggies and push chairs

✔ If you use a buggy or push chair, strap in your child securely and keep the buggy well back from the edge of the road when getting ready to cross. If you can carry the weight, front and back carriers are a safer way to carry babies near busy roads, and mean your hands are free.

✔ If you use a buggy on hilly streets, use a strap that goes around your wrist and the buggy handle; it means if you slip and let go, the buggy won't roll away.

GO20AlexRoadSideHolding hands

✔ When your child first starts to walk with you, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. Make sure hand-holding is your number one rule your child always follows, especially when crossing roads. If your child is likely to pull away from you, use safety reins or a wrist strap.

Teach road safety

✔ Teach road safety to your child from the age of two using fun games and rhymes. You can use our Beep Beep! Day activities for fun ways to teach road safety. Make sure they understand the meaning of stop, go, traffic, danger, look, listen, walk don't run, and other key road safety words.

à Encourage your child's nursery, playgroup or school to run take part in a Beep Beep! Day or Brake's Kids Walk.

Nursery/school trips

✔ If your child is going on a nursery or school trip by coach or minibus, check if they are using a modern vehicle with three-point seatbelts.

à See our advice for teachers on school trips and check if the nursery or school is following this advice.

When to allow your child to walk on their own around local roads

✔ Children under eight should always be accompanied by and hold hands with an adult around roads, particularly when crossing.

✔ When your child reaches the age of eight, you should consider whether to allow them to walk independently. It can be a tough decision as you will need to consider their development and weigh up the benefits of them being active and healthy with traffic danger in your area.

✔ When you decide to let your child walk independently, remind them about the importance of crossing safely using the Green Cross Code, paying attention to the road, and help them to plan the safest possible route (along quiet, slow roads with pavements or traffic-free paths) to school, the park or their friends' houses.

✔ If you are concerned about traffic danger in your area, such as due to fast traffic or a lack of pavements, you could also start a campaign for a 20mph limit or pavements and crossings, or whatever your community needs, using Brake’s advice.

✔ You can also encourage your child's school to organise practical pedestrian training, which is usually offered by local authority road safety teams.

à Read our advice for teachers on pedestrian and cycle training.

CYCLING

Whether to allow your child to cycle on roads in your communityGO20FamilyCrossingRoadsmall

✔ Brake recommends that children under 10 don’t cycle on roads. Many roads are unsafe for children, particularly fast and bendy rural roads and busy town roads without separate space for cyclists.

✔ Happily, some communities now have great cycling facilities, including separate paths for cyclists, which can be a great way for children to start enjoying the benefits of cycling while they are safe from traffic.

à If your area doesn’t have cycling facilities, why not start a campaign.

✔ You can also help your child gain experience through cycle training arranged through their school or the local authority. Even if it's not safe for them to cycle on local roads, this is helpful for them starting to gain experience, and great if you are planning a cycling holiday.

✔ Make sure their bike is well-maintained with working brakes and lights, which they should use in poor visibility, although cycling in the dark is best avoided.

✔ If your child cycles on roads, help them plan the safest possible routes making use of traffic-free paths and quiet, slow roads. Tell them to get off and walk their bike on the pavement if they have to negotiate any busy junctions.

à Read more advice for cyclists.

TEENS AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Going to secondary school

✔ Your child's risk of being injured on foot or on a bicycle increases as they gain independence – far more teens are knocked down and hurt than younger children. Peer pressure can also cause children to behave unsafely. Keep talking about road safety with your child, ensure they know the importance of continuing to take great care when crossing including putting their phone away and taking earphones out, and help them plan the safest possible routes in your area.

à Teens can get advice and resources, and watch videos on road safety in Brake’s young people and road safety section.

2Y2DYoungDriver2Accepting lifts from mates

✔ Talk to your son or daughter about the dangers of accepting lifts from mates driving cars or motorbikes. Young drivers, young males in particular, are the highest risk group of drivers due to their age and inexperience: this means they are particularly likely to take risks and less able to cope with hazards.

✔ It’s safest to avoid lifts altogether with young drivers, or at least don’t get a lift with someone you don’t trust completely to drive under speed limits, completely sober, and focused on the road.

✔ Agree with your son or daughter that you will always pick them up if they are stuck and need you to, even if it's late at night. Make sure they're always able to get hold of you if they need to, and tell them they can call you any time, day or night. It might be an inconvenience, but better safe than sorry. If you don't drive, give your son or daughter emergency numbers and tell them you have cash in the house to pay for it in case they get stranded without a lift and need to get home.

Learning to drive

✔ Many young people see driving as their route to independence. But the younger someone learns to drive, the greater the risk of them crashing and being seriously hurt or killed.

✔ There is often no need for young people to drive or own a car; it's dangerous, expensive, and harmful to the environment. Help your son or daughter to look at the alternatives to driving and understand the benefits of not driving, especially the money they will save. If they are going on to further education, they will probably be living somewhere with access to public transport. Encourage them to spend their cash on something more constructive than a car, such as a great holiday.

✔ If they are determined to learn to drive, you could offer an incentive to delay, for example offering to pay for their driving lessons if they wait until they are 21, or funding their use of public transport in the meantime.

Advice for young people

à Young people who are non-drivers, learners or already driving, can read our advice, explore our young people and road safety section, and make the Brake Pledge.

Read more and take action:

   -   Make the Brake Pledge with your family
   -   Explore Brake’s training and resources for engaging young people 
   -   Check out Brake’s projects for schools and nurseries
   -   Get involved in Road Safety Week
   -   Get advice on running a road safety campaign in your area
   -   Donate to Brake or fundraise in your community

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 new report that reveals road crashes are leading killer of children globally.

News from Brake
Friday 7 December
 
A new report published today by the World Health Organisation has revealed that road crashes are the leading killer of children and young adults (aged 5-29 years) globally.  The report on the global status of road safety also found that the total number of deaths from road crashes rose to 1.35million in 2016, up from 1.25million in 2013. Road crashes are now the eighth leading cause of death globally, surpassing HIV/AIDS and TB.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
 
“It is truly heart breaking that so many young lives are needlessly lost across the World in road crashes. Road deaths are entirely preventable tragedies and the solutions to tackle this carnage on our roads are with us today. Governments across the World need to act now to pass life-saving laws and invest comparatively small amounts of money in road safety compared with the enormous cost of loss of life.
 
“Every hour, 154 people are killed on the world’s roads. If a plane fell out of the sky every hour killing that many people, then all planes would be grounded immediately. The time for change to tackle this epidemic on the World’s roads is now and it needs to come from the top. The United Nations must lead the way, and governments must act.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors:
  • Brake is a member of the UN Road Safety Collaboration - an informal consultative mechanism whose members are committed to road safety efforts and in particular to the implementation of the recommendations of the World report on road traffic injury prevention. The goal of the Collaboration is to facilitate international cooperation and to strengthen global and regional coordination among UN agencies and other international partners to implement UN General Assembly resolutions and the recommendations of the world report thereby supporting country programmes.
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%

 

Brake echoes police calls, warning young people of dangers of drink and drug driving

Wednesday 21 January 2015

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

Brake, the road safety charity, has praised police for their efforts to catch drink and drug drivers over the festive period but has expressed concern that a significant minority of drivers – especially among the younger age group – are continuing to endanger lives.

An increasingly intelligence-led approach by officers resulted in fewer breath tests this year, down to 133,996, but a higher rate of drivers testing positive, with 5,885, or 4.39%, failing breath testsaccording to figures released by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Among these, 28,228 under-25s were tested, with a 6.33% failure rate, compared to 3.94% of over-25s. 

Brake is warning there is still a long way to go to stamp out the menace of drink and drug driving throughout the year. According to a Brake and Direct Line survey, many continue to take the deadly risk of driving after drinking and many feel unable to speak out to stop others doing it [1].

Brake also warns that many who pass the breath test could be unsafe to drive due to the England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s high drink drive limit. Scotland reduced its drink drive limit on 5 December 2014, to 50mg per 100ml of blood. Brake is renewing its calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg per 100ml blood. See calls for action below and the facts on why it should be none for the road.

Brake is also urging the government to give greater priority to traffic policing and ensure sufficient resourcing is available for vital drink and drug driving enforcement, following significant cuts [2], and especially ahead of a new drug drive law coming into force in England and Wales on 2 March.

Brake urges all drivers never to drink any alcohol or take any drugs before driving: not a drop, not a drag. See Brake’s advice below.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“It is encouraging to see police increasingly using an intelligence-led approach to catching drink and drug drivers, and their Christmas and summer enforcement campaigns remain vitally important. Drink driving is still one of the biggest killers on our roads and we have some way to go before we persuade all drivers to commit to never driving after drinking. It’s especially worrying that the message is not getting through to a significant minority of young people. People who persist in drink driving needlessly put the lives of others at risk and too often cause crashes that devastate families and communities, all for the sake of a drink. Our message is clear: it should be none for the road.”

The police figures coincide with Brake launching a new interactive e-learning resource, ‘Sober up’, produced with sponsorship from Hitachi Capital Driving Instructor Solutions. The resource is available at brake.org.uk/soberup and can be used by drivers and families directly, as well as by educators, employers and road safety practitioners to engage groups of young people and drivers on the issue of drink and drug driving.

Read about Brake’s ‘not a drop, not a drag’ campaign.

Facts

One in six deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [3], but drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [4]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [5].

Brake’s advice

Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash. This is the case even if the driver doesn't feel drunk or even tipsy. So the only way to ensure you're safe if you're driving this festive season is not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. And as a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help you avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action

Brake calls for a zero tolerance limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg alcohol. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood. In Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

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]Christmas party-goers urged to help save lives by standing up to ‘designated drivers’ who drink, as survey shows we’re still too timid, Brake, 10 December 2013
[2] Huge roads policing cuts put public at risk, warns charity, Brake, 23 January 2012
[3] Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report, Department for Transport, 2013, includes those drivers who were involved in crashes but were under the legal limit.
[4] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[5] ibid

Cheshire Fire Service Cadets receive national road safety award for film project to help save young lives

15 January 2014

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

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Cadets have been presented with a national award recognising their contribution to tackling young driver crashes and saving young lives as part of road safety charity Brake's 2young2die campaign.

The cadets, from Congleton, Sandbach and Runcorn, received the 2young2die award at road safety charity Brake's annual reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, sponsored by Direct Line Group (photo attached).

The 2young2die competition encourages young people to get creative and promote life-saving road safety messages to peers and the wider community through powerful, original campaign films and adverts. The aim is to promote awareness about how young people and drivers of all ages can protect themselves, their friends and the wider community around them on the roads.

The winning 2013 entry, which was researched, scripted, produced and starred-in by the cadet team, is a series of three short films on the themes of speeding, drink driving and seatbelt use. The films were developed as part of the Fire Cadet Road Safety Video Project, set up after the tragic death of Congleton Fire Cadet, Hayley Bates in a road crash in September 2010. The project has been such a success it will now be run annually, with films produced by cadets used by fire crews in workshops with local schools and colleges throughout the year.

The cadets' films were shown at a special premiere at Cineworld in Runcorn in October 2013. At the event, young people had the opportunity to use a driving simulator and get road safety advice from fire officers. There was also a car on display in which a young driver lost his life, donated by his family and now known as the 'Think Car'.

One of the cadets' films, 'Had a Drink? Think Don't Drive', was shown as a trailer before all showings of films rated 15 or over on 9 October 2013 at Runcorn Cineworld.

Brake is inviting young people, educators and youth workers to register now for the 2014 competition, by visiting www.2young2die.org.uk/competition to get a free e-action pack.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Young drivers are involved in one in four serious road crashes, and often young people themselves are the tragic victims. But young people can also have a big impact in helping to promote road safety and put a stop to needless casualties. The Cheshire Fire Service Cadets have shown great dedication to spreading vital road safety awareness and their powerful messages are reaching a large audience, so we are delighted to present them with this award. We are also urging more young people, colleges and schools to get involved in the 2young2die competition, to make a difference in your community and support Brake's work helping families devastated by crashes."

Laura Wheelton, fire cadet watch manager at Congleton, said: "Our friend and fellow cadet Hayley was killed in a terrible road crash involving speed, so it's something that has affected us personally and that's why our film focuses on the consequences of driving too fast. We wanted to pass on the message that speeding needs to stop. We're enthusiastic about making more films to help get through to people with important messages that could save someone's life. We were so pleased to find out we had won the 2young2die award. We're proud that we have been able to turn something that has affected us so deeply into something positive."

Paul Hancock, chief fire officer at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "I am thrilled that the Cadets have won this fantastic award for a project I know they are passionate about. It makes us even more determined to continue working alongside young people to raise awareness, promote responsible road use, and help stop the tragic loss of young lives we see on our roads."

Brake
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

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.

Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley, Kent; it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Through its number of well known brands Direct Line Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also offers insurance services for third party brands through its Partnerships division. In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, Direct Line Group continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

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 Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, July 2007

july07David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate
David Burrowes MP has been working in his constituency to educate young people about the dangers they face on the roads. He is campaigning to get the young driver road safety initiative ‘Safe Drive Stay Alive’ implemented in Enfield, and also attended a Brake & FedEx Road Safety Academy presentation at Highlands School, in Enfield to support local road safety campaigner George Atkinson, who was talking to 14-year-old pupils about their attitudes towards driving.

George, whose 16-year-old daughter was hit and killed by a car which mounted a pavement in Enfield in January 1998, was trained by the Brake & FedEx academy three years ago. He delivers hard-hitting road safety presentations to young people, using Brake resources, and has already spoken to hundreds of teenagers in Enfield and other boroughs. David made sure that key road safety messages from the presentation reached as many of his constituents as possible by encouraging local media to report on the event, resulting in articles in the Enfield Gazette and Enfield Advertiser.

Throughout July, David worked in Parliament to raise awareness about an issue inseparable from young driver safety - drug driving. According to a recent survey by Brake, almost one in ten young drivers (9%) has driven after taking drugs. David tabled Parliamentary Questions asking what progress is being made in developing roadside drug-screening devices, what the timescale is for the development of type-approval of the devices, and if the devices will be available for use by police forces within the next three years (11 July 2007 : Column 1527W).

These questions have resulted in the Home Office confirming that it will publish a ‘Guide to Type Approval of Drug Testing Devices’ by September 2007, and that after this, a typical timescale for the type-approval process might be around six months, meaning drug screening devices could potentially be on the market by March 2008.

Brake has produced an information sheet for drivers on the issue of drug driving, outlining the problem and giving case studies of drug-drive crashes.

David also tabled a question about enforcement and levels of compliance with new child seat legislation introduced in September 2006 (11 July 2007 : Column 1529W).

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  

Department for Transport policy meeting, 9 January 2008

Cathy Keeler, Brake’s Head of Campaigns met Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP on 9 January 2008.

20mph limits and safety zones

The first issue discussed was the need for a default 20mph limit in built-up areas, with 20mph safety zones outside schools and in residential areas where children are likely to be out on foot and bicycles. These are key demands of Brake’s Watch Out, There’s A Kid About! campaign.

Cathy outlined the difficulties facing many communities struggling to get lower limits and other essential measures put in place to protect kids outside their schools and homes. Brake’s mascot, Zak the zebra, is working with some of these communities to highlight dangers on local roads and lobby for lower limits. Finding funding for safety measures such as 20mph limits and traffic-calming measures is a regular problem, but a few councils have also cited Government guidelines as a barrier to reducing limits in some locations where speeds are not already low.

Cathy pointed out that the Government does not monitor implementation of its guidelines on setting speed limits and there is no information collected centrally on how many 20mph limits and safety zones are in place. Similarly, there is no central information collected on whether local authorities have implemented Department for Transport (DfT) guidance on child road safety audits. These issues were highlighted by recent Department for Transport answers to Parliamentary Questions asked by MPs Mark Hunter and John Leech in October 2007 and January 2008. This means that the Government cannot analyse to what extent its guidance is being followed by local authorities or whether it is effectively improving safety.

Jim said that DfT had identified the gap in knowledge highlighted by the Parliamentary Questions and was at the early stages of planning research on the number of 20mph speed limits and safety zones in England and Wales. He invited Brake to contribute ideas for other local authority-led road safety measures that could be analysed as part of the same research and Cathy suggested: identifying how many schools have 20mph limits outside them; how many sites in England and Wales have variable 20mph limits (as have already been implemented outside the majority of schools in Scotland); and child road safety audits.

Young drivers

Cathy urged Jim to ensure that the long-promised consultation paper on the learning to drive process included the option of introducing a system of graduated driver licensing, with a minimum learning to drive period and restrictions on driving in particularly risky situations for novice drivers, as recommended by Parliament’s Transport Select Committee.

Jim said that DfT was open to all suggestions on this issue. It was still finalising the consultation paper and he hoped it would be published in February or March.

Reporting of at-work road crashes

Cathy raised concerns about under-reporting of at-work crashes, in particular when they involve cars or vans rather than commercial vehicles. Mike Fawcett, DfT’s head of road user safety policy said DfT was aware of the concern, but did not envisage changing the form used by police before the next scheduled review date. Cathy suggested further guidance for police officers using the forms could help improve the quality of data recorded.

Driver impairment

Mobile phones - Cathy flagged up research published by the University of Utah, showing that hands-free kits slow reaction and braking times. She urged Jim to review the evidence for banning hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Drink-driving - Cathy asked when the promised consultation on drink-driving would be published and whether it would be encouraging views on the current drink-drive limit. Jim responded that there was as yet no date for publication. He did not rule out the possibility of introducing a lower drink-drive limit, but said that DfT was of the view that the biggest potential road safety gains could come from improved enforcement of the limit.

Post-2010 strategy and targets

Cathy said Brake had been pleased to hear Jim stating in speeches that even one death on the road is one too many. She encouraged DfT to adopt an overarching ‘vision’ along these lines, similar to the Vision Zero approach adopted in Sweden. Jim said that DfT would be seeking the views of Brake and other stakeholders on developing a post-2010 road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets during 2008.

Eric Martlew, MP for Carlisle, March 2007

march07Eric Martlew, MP for Carlisle

The Parliamentarian for the month of March is Eric Martlew. Eric has worked to raise awareness about the growing problem of young driver deaths and injuries on the road

As a member of the Transport Select Committee, Eric Martlew questioned the road safety Minister Stephen Ladyman and other witnesses about the horrifying number of young people dying on our roads, and how we can tackle this problem. He put it to the Minister that young driver fatalities are a serious and growing problem, and questioned the Minister on his views on Graduated Licensing. You can read a transcript of this debate on Eric’s website.

Eric Martlew also put a question to the Prime Minister Tony Blair about the rising numbers of young driver deaths on the road, and called for the Government to announce proposals to stem the rising death toll. Click here to read this question and the Prime Minister’s response.

Brake’s website has more information on graduated licensing, including information on Brake’s Licensed to Kill? campaign to stop young driver deaths and injuries on the road.

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

John Smith, MP for Vale of Glamorgan, October 2007

october07John Smith, MP for Vale of Glamorgan
John Smith MP is working with a bereaved constituent to stop the horrifying number of drink-drive crashes involving young drivers - drivers aged 17-19 are six times more likely to have a drink-drive crash than drivers aged 30-34.

John has worked for more than a year with constituent Roger Palmer, whose son Aaron was 18 years old when he was hit and killed by a 20-year-old drink-driver as he walked along a grass verge on Boxing Day 2003.

In October this year, to mark Road Safety Week, John stepped up the campaign by tabling an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to undertake a thorough review of the current legislation affecting young drink-drivers and urging it to provide compulsory road safety education to young people (EDM 2181).

John built upon this Parliamentary work by persuading local schools in his constituency to allow him to visit with Roger to give road safety presentations to students. John and Roger have since visited two local secondary schools to raise awareness of the dangers of irresponsible driving using information from the FedEx and Brake Road Safety Academy. Following the talk, students at Barry Comprehensive School discussed how they could improve road safety, and are planning to set up a safe driving club within the school.

This recent step-up in campaigning follows John’s earlier support for a campaign by Roger Palmer when he collected more than 20,000 signatures calling for drink-drivers involved in fatal crashes to have their licences permanently revoked. John accompanied Mr and Mrs Palmer to 10 Downing Street to present their petition in December 2006. Click here to read a BBC article about the petition.

Visit Brake’s website for information and advice on drink-driving.

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon

JTomlinsonJustin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his work campaigning to reform the way young people learn to drive to prevent devastating road crashes.

Justin launched his campaign in June 2013 after two horrendous crashes in May 2013 killed three teenagers in Swindon within the space of a week, bringing home the dangers faced by young and newly qualified drivers and their passengers. Young drivers are involved in one in four fatal and serious crashes, despite making up just one in eight driver licence holders [1].

Working to highlight the issue in Parliament, Justin introduced the Graduated Driving Licence Scheme Bill on 19 June 2013. The Bill proposed that for 12 months immediately after passing their tests, drivers would have licence restrictions to limit the risks they are exposed to. This would include a zero-tolerance drink drive limit and only being allowed to carry one passenger. These restrictions would be supported by graduated learning, with key skills signed off by an accredited instructor before being allowed to book a test.

'Graduated driver licensing' already exists in a number of countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is predicted that it would save 200 lives and prevent 14,000 injuries a year in the UK [2].

Justin consulted widely, with emergency services, the insurance industry, Driver Instructors Association, and with Brake. He also repeatedly met with transport ministers Stephen Hammond and Robert Goodwill, raised questions about young road deaths in Parliament, and wrote about the issue in local press and the Conservative Home blog.
Justin secured cross-party support for the Bill from a number of MPs, and it was due to have its second reading on 25 October. Unfortunately there was not enough time to debate the Bill, and a new date has not yet been announced.

Although Justin's Bill may not become law directly, it has put the issue at the top of the agenda ahead of the government's forthcoming green paper on young drivers, expected in the new year. Justin has been invited by road safety minister Robert Goodwill to submit his research and proposals for consideration alongside the green paper, and he will continue to press for graduated licensing.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: "Brake fully endorses Justin's campaign for graduated driver licensing, an approach we believe is critical to reducing the appalling numbers of young lives cut short and changed forever on our roads. As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, all too often we see families torn apart by these devastating yet preventable deaths and serious injuries.

"Young drivers are more at risk because of a deadly combination of inexperience, overconfidence and peer pressure. Introducing them to the roads gradually, through a minimum learning period and restrictions for novice drivers, has been proven to drastically reduce these risks. We are delighted to recognise Justin's work on the issue and will continue to support his efforts until the law is changed."

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon said: "With four young people a day either killed or seriously injured on our roads, it is vital we take steps to allow young drivers to gain essential driving experience under lower risk conditions. I will continue to press on this issue as not only will it improve safety, but it will also bring down sky-high insurance premiums for young drivers. I am very grateful for all Brake's support in promoting my Private Members Bill."

End notes:
[1] Reported Road Accidents Involving Young Drivers 2009 (Department for Transport, 2011)
[2] Restricting young drivers, The University of Cardiff, 2010