November 29, 2019
I remember passing my driving test when I was 17 years old. Having lessons with an instructor sat next to me I felt confident and content, however this changed when I had to get behind the wheel all by myself. I felt this enormous responsibility to make sure I drove sensibly, didn’t speed and didn’t carry out any manoeuvre which might put myself or anyone else in danger. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same. There are many young drivers out there who think that once they’ve passed their test, they have all the knowledge and skill that’s required to be a good driver.
Road Casualty statistics show that young men aged 17-24 are the highest risk group of all car drivers. Working in our complex injury team here at Spencers Solicitors, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating effects that a young irresponsible driver can cause to other innocent road users, ranging from brain injuries, to loss of limbs and worse still, death.
In the Department of Transport’s 2019 Road Safety Statement “A Lifetime of Road Safety” one of the four main focuses is on young road users. It is a fact that 1 in 5 drivers crash in the first year after passing their test. Young drivers feel vulnerable on the road which can lead to them driving more defensively and taking unnecessary risks to over-compensate for their inexperience.
It takes real road experience to become a good driver. Those early years behind the wheel are most certainly the riskiest and there is a higher susceptibility to act on impulse, have peer pressure from others and have an under-developed capacity to judge danger and consequences.
The Department for Transport launched another THINK! Campaign in March this year, focusing specifically on new male drivers aged 17-30. Fronted by the ‘Road Whisperer’, this campaign delivers tips around situations where there are a high number of road casualties or where new drivers feel most vulnerable. They are also continuing to target young male drivers to raise awareness of specific behaviours and reinforce vital road safety messages including drink driving, using mobile phones, passenger distraction and speeding.
The Department of Transport is committed to focusing on some key areas in order to reduce the number of young road users killed or seriously injured, here are just a few:
- The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency launching a campaign to encourage learner drivers to spend more time practising on different roads for example driving on rural roads, driving independently and driving in the dark
- Commission further research into Graduated Driver Licensing scheme which would place restrictions on new novice drivers’ post-test.
- Review of national standards to make sure they are up to date
- Refresh all learning materials and publish online driver record
- Review guidance on carrying out mock tests for your pupils
In addition, the road safety plan also focuses on 3 other priority road user groups; rural road users, motorcyclists and older vulnerable road users. Keep your eye out for some more blogs on these particular topics.
Avoidable road deaths and injuries in young people needs to be reduced to an absolute minimum and if everyone works together the roads should be a safe place for us all. JUST THINK!
About the Author
Laura Reaney is a Paralegal within our Serious Injury Team.
Laura, who joined the team in 1998, originally started as an office junior before training as a Litigator. After gaining extensive experience within personal injury, Laura now specialises in assisting on complex and high value personal injury claims. Over the years she has assisted senior Solicitors in dealing with accident claims involving amputations, serious spinal injuries resulting in permanent disability, brain, head injuries and fatal accidents.