Support for new campaign to reform young driver training

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Support for new campaign to reform young driver training

12th May 2011

A campaign for radical changes to the way young motorists are trained and qualify for a driving licence has this week been launched by road safety activists.

The Too Young To Die campaign has been launched by Brake, the road safety charity, in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on UK roads involving young and inexperienced drivers.

Joanna Bailey, a specialist in road collisions injuries with Fentons Solicitors LLP, is an active supporter of the charity and attended the launch event. "The campaign calls on the Government to make significant changes to the learning to drive system in this country and introduce Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)," said Joanna, who regularly acts as a spokesperson for Brake. "The GDL system has been introduced in a number of countries already - such as the USA and New Zealand - to great success," said Joanna.

The campaign was launched to mark the start of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which Joanna says highlights the global issues of road safety. "A recent survey of young people aged between 16 and 21 revealed a shockingly dangerous attitude to two top killers, namely speed and drink driving," she said. "This can only add weight to calls for a regulatory approach to tackling deaths and injuries caused by young drivers."

The survey conducted on behalf of Brake found that 41 per cent of young people thought it acceptable to break a 30mph limit by 10mph or more, which would give a driver no chance of stopping in time if a child ran out.

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) believed it was ok to drink up to one and a half pints of beer or equivalent alcohol before driving, while one in eleven young males said it was ok to drink even more and still get behind the wheel.

The survey also found that 58 per cent of young people believed that young drivers behaved more dangerously with young passengers in their cars.

"GDL allows younger drivers to build up their skills and experience gradually and under supervision, with a minimum of one year of learning before taking a driving test. Only once that test is passed is the motorist allowed to drive without supervision, but for the following two years there are other restrictions such as on the number of passengers they can carry and a lower drink drive limit than the current national legal limit."

Joanna, who for more than 15 years has helped the victims and families of those affected by serious road collisions, said that the GDL recommendations were borne out by research which showed younger drivers were more likely to engage in risky driving behaviour, and less equipped to cope and react to any hazards they might encounter.

"We work with the victims of road collisions every day, and the impact that a fatal or serious injury has on an individual and their families is devastating," said Joanna. "Young drivers are involved in a quarter of all road deaths and serious injuries in the UK, and it is clear that something has to be done to reduce this statistic.

"We actively support any campaign that aims to ensure the safety of future generations, and improve the safety of all road users."

Read more at: Brake