Teenage Drivers involved in One in Eight serious Accidents

learner driverA report has found that teenage drivers are involved in 11.9% of all road accidents; despite comprising just 1.5% of the driving population. The statistics make for worrying reading and have prompted calls for the government to introduce Graduated Driving Licences for young drivers.

The study commissioned by the RAC Foundation analysed nationwide traffic data over a five year period (from 2008-2012) and found that nearly one in eight accidents involved 17-19 year-old drivers.

Rural drivers were the worst offenders with the highest proportion of casualties in Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall, and the lowest proportion of casualties in London. In Dyfed Powys teenage drivers were involved in nearly one in five accidents where someone was hurt or killed (18.2%).

No matter how you look at the statistics it’s clear that teenage drivers present a disproportionate risk to both themselves and other road users; especially in rural areas. So what’s the best way to make our roads safer?

One solution could be the introduction of Graduated Driving Licences (GDL). Already ‘tried and tested’ across the globe all the way from Australia to America, the GDL system gives new drivers a 12-month probationary period and places certain restrictions on younger drivers.

Given that the restrictions aren’t too onerous (typically limiting the number of passengers and restricted driving after dark) motoring organizations were surprised that a bill to introduce GLDs failed to get through parliament in 2013.

The Association of British Insurers estimated that the restrictions would save newly-qualified drivers 20% on their insurance premiums or as much as £370 a year.

Professor Stephen Glaister of the RAC Foundation commented “We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable. This is about ensuring their long term safety and mobility. Not curtailing it.”

Based on evidence from countries that already have GDLs; the report estimates that there would be 4,500 fewer people hurt each year, and 430 fewer people seriously injured or killed.

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