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.”
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.

Tags: awards young drivers graduated licencing GDL parliamentarian