Road Safety News

Campaigners raise heat on Government’s young driver Green Paper

Wednesday 19th June 2013

Ministers are putting hundreds of lives at risk by delaying a Green Paper on tackling young driver safety, a coalition of eight organisations including the ABI, ACPO and National Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs has warned (Telegraph).

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, published 17 June, campaigners urge the Government to live up to a promise to launch a consultation on measures including night-time curfews on young motorists, minimum one year learning periods and a zero tolerance on alcohol.

The Telegraph article says that ministers promised to publish proposals by the end of the spring, but campaigners are worried the Government will miss this deadline and end up watering down the plans.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), Association of Police Chief Officers (ACPO), road safety charity Brake, and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs have come together with other organisations in a collective call for action.

In the letter, the eight organisations say: “Despite each casualty being a needless waste of life and heart-breaking for families, successive Governments have failed to take decisive action to stop this tragic loss of young lives.

“We welcome this Government's interest in improving driver safety and are calling for it to seize the opportunity.

“We need a genuine and open debate about the combination of changes to the testing and training system that has the best chance of making our roads safer for young people and everyone one.”

According to the Telegraph, campaigners believe the Government is worried about the effect a crackdown on young motorists would have on mobility, particularly in the countryside.

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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Firstly, how is a 'young driver' defined? Secondly, it is to be assumed that a test qualifies one to drive, so the assumption is that having passed a test one should be competent and able to drive, be it light or dark or twilight, regardless. So there should be no need to limit driving to daylight hours hence losing the practical aspect of having a car for transport to work in an increasingly mobile society. If a 'young driver' is going to drive recklessly or under the influence of any form of substance, then neither will the amount of daylight or a period of time limiting the driving times alter the fact that they are increasingly at risk of having an accident. For all those young drivers that do have accidents at night, there are many more who are responsible and do not. This is an aspect that has to be dealt with as per the individual rather than a collective veto.
The S Logic please

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I was pleased to read an article in yesterday's Telegraph, based on a survey by the Admiral insurance company, that recognised an issue with parents and peer group people supervising learners. I have long believed this. However, disappointingly it mainly only refers to incidental aspects of unsuitability rather that core aspects of safety.
Nigel Albright

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The comments above are all in my opinion interesting and encouraging with regards the subject and I agree it is the root cause we have to deal with here. Many of the organisations that are wanting a quicker response than the government are giving are forgetting one thing, it takes time to get changes done, especially when the changes proposed by most of the organisations are short term fixes, for example stopping younger drivers from driving at night.

As can be read in the comments above, night is a bit ambiguous - is this only when dark, or is it after the hours of midnight? I have read many reports by these organisations and most just say at night, in fact many say with drivers living in a rural area. For the government to react on short term fixes and ambiguous research would be in my opinion irresponsible of them.

We do have to look at the long term root causes to fix this problem and yes driver behaviour from peers, parents, guardians do have an impact. I understand if I as a father was to have road rage, go against the law and speed or run red lights, throw litter out of the window, it may - and and I say may - have an impact on my children that would be in the car with me. Children will learn behaviour regarding driving and in car habits from the age of 2 maybe younger for some.
Anthony, Cardiff

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The idea is one of the very few road safety measures which have made it through the Cochrane Review, so it should be pursued with all haste. As suggested by Idris's and Honor's exchange, there will have to be exemption clauses, but the principle is right.
mike mcdonnell, coatbridge

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Whatever is done with young motorists today, largely their attitudes and behavior are logically going to largely be the product of those who most influence their lives, their parents. And this is going to be a far stronger imprint than 12 weeks, say, with an ADI. Given that many drivers drive unwittingly like the next crash waiting to happen and if spot tested today would fail their driving test, some by a large margin, and given that young people will spend, say, 10 years watching their parents drive and their attitudes on the road, and you have the real root of the issue. It's a long term thing but, in my view, address the root cause and you will have a major solution to the problem in the long run.
Nigel Albright

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)

The night time curfew proposal has come from the data analysis that clearly shows that young people, especially where there is more than one young person in the car, are more frequently involved in collisions at night. When looking to remedy this higher risk period there are many wider issues that come into play - Idris has pointed out one or two, plus many young people work part time in pubs and restaurants or supermarkets; they may attend evening classes; in agriculture they may well need to get to work for 0500 hrs; in horse racing the working day starts at 0600 hrs; it isn't an easy one to address but the starting point is an identified period of higher risk to young people.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

How is nightime defined, and why? Is it related to driving in the dark - so youngsters would not be able to drive home from work for several months of the year, or is it related to the time of day? If so, why? Alcohol related perhaps?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (6) | Disagree (7)

I think night time curfews for new drivers is not the answer, learning from experience is.
Phil, Kent

Agree (12) | Disagree (2)

"Campaigners believe the Government is worried about the effect a crackdown on young motorists would have on mobility, particularly in the countryside". But the point is being missed.....if you have no driving license at all (pre-test) and are told that your first 3/6/12 months after passing your test is restricted in some way (by whatever means may be decided) then you are no worse off than before you pass your test. So this is a reduction in driver-benefits rather than a loss (or crackdown) on anything. We have graduated issues in other areas (including traffic related ones e.g HGVs) and so it is bemusing why car driving is considered a different case.
pete, liverpool

Agree (16) | Disagree (2)