Confidence & Responsibility Key To Young Driver Safety
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory announces the ABD's proposals to cut young driver casualties:
“The effects of young driver accidents are often tragic. Whilst car manufacturers continue their excellent work in cutting casualties with ABS, airbags, stronger bodyshells etc and have reduced joyriding with effective security the authorities have lagged behind. A new approach is needed. The ABD puts forward an effective course of action and urges the government to implement it urgently.”
- Early Learning
Training well before reaching driving age is proven to be effective.
Safe road use must be put firmly on the national curriculum. Off-road areas such as disused industrial sites should be made available for training nationwide using inexpensive end of life vehicles which also facilitate mechanical and engineering training. What we need are confident & responsible young drivers; setting an excellent example is the Under 17's Car Club 1, new drivers who have been trained by them are half as likely to be involved in an accident during their first year as other novice drivers.
- Refocus From 'Driving By Numbers' to 'Setting Speed To Conditions'.
Pre test training must refocus towards hazard anticipation and awareness. Setting speeds safely to conditions, should be prioritised rather than the current 'driving by numbers' approach. The vital phrase: 'Always set your speed so you can safely stop within the distance guaranteed to be clear' should have strong emphasis. Currently many novice drivers are not even given this advice.
- Practice and Test at 'Real World Speeds'.
Recent ratcheting down of speed limits means that many learners never get the chance to learn vital skill of adjusting speed to conditions or to practice overtaking. The driving test and training must be conducted up to the real world speeds young drivers will be using after they pass their test. Driving at artificially low speeds below the natural traffic speed is not good preparation. As soon as they pass their test they try to drive as they have seen their more experienced peers drive, but are lacking the relevant experience or education. A return to the proven 85th percentile means of setting speed limits 2 would enable new drivers to be trained at normal driving speeds and to practice safe overtakes.
- Post Test Training Needs Encouragement and Incentives.
Post test training should be given encouragement and incentives. We need to move towards advanced style training becoming the norm. Any driver (young or old) who has taken the time & trouble to pass an advanced test should get a substantial reduction in their car insurance premium. Other discount and reward schemes should be considered. When people can earn a tangible reward for improving their skills behind the wheel then we will see a significant fall in road casualties.
- Firm Punishment For The Irresponsible Minority.
Drink and drugged driving needs to be tackled by a stronger police presence on the roads backed up by effective court action. The knowledge that they will be caught is the best deterrent to the irresponsible few. Lenient punishments for joyriding need to be strengthened. Although lessened, this is still a significant contributor to the statistics which tar all young drivers.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Under 17 Car Club
2. Speed Limits: their correct use, setting, and enforcement
Notes for Editors about the ABD