GOVERNMENT’S U-TURN ON YOUNG DRIVER SAFETY
Once again, the safety of young drivers has been kicked into the back seat, with a long-promised consultation paper – due before the end of 2013 – postponed indefinitely.
PACTS Executive Director David Davies said: “Ministers have today (19 December) admitted that they are reneging on their repeated commitments to publish a consultation paper on young driver safety this year. It looks like a clear case of putting politics before the safety of young people, giving the general election priority over saving lives. PACTS is dismayed that the government is not prepared even to consult on such a vital issue.”
Almost a quarter of the road crashes resulting in death or serious injury in 2012 involved a driver under 24. TRL research, commissioned by the Government, found that a graduated approach to young driver licensing could prevent 230 deaths and save £224 million a year.
- Young, newly-qualified drivers are disproportionately involved in crashes, particularly catastrophic crashes involving multiple passengers. This has driven up insurance premiums for young drivers.
- Young drivers themselves know that they engage in risky and even illegal behaviours, with more than average reporting that they drive too fast for the conditions or text while driving – and see this behaviour among their peers.
- New drivers know that they need to improve their skills, with 95% acknowledging the need for at least some improvement. This is more commonly reported by females.
David Davies continued: “This issue has been left in the ‘too difficult’ pile for too long. The general public, parents of teenagers and most young people themselves believe the current testing and licensing do not prepare young people to drive safely. The system needs courageous leadership and overhaul, as countries such as those already carried out in Australia and Canada.
“Successive governments have not managed to resolve the risks for young drivers and their passengers in the period immediately after passing the test. As well as the disproportionate safety risks, many young people are now excluded from driving because of high insurance premiums which reflect the level of catastrophic crashes.
“Disappointingly, this government appears to have the same weak resolve.
“The Transport Select Committee has called for action to improve young driver safety and PACTS will be inviting the Committee to question the Government over its lack of progress.”
The information was provided by Transport minister Robert Goodwill in a written answer to Richard Burden MP on 19th December: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131218/text/131218w0001.htm#131218w0001.htm_wqn15
PACTS briefing notes:
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is a registered charity and an associate Parliamentary Group. Its charitable objective is “To protect human life through the promotion of transport safety for the public benefit”.
Further media information:
David Armstrong/Becky Hadley 020 7808 7997
David Davies 020 7222 7732