IAM RoadSmart maintains that Graduated Driving Licences must spearhead a comprehensive series of changes to save then lives of young drivers, as another set of disappointing statistics emerge from today’s (25 July) government road casualty announcement.
The Department for Transport says there were 1,782 reported road deaths in 2018 (reference 1). It says: “This is similar to the level seen since 2012, which followed a period of substantial reduction in fatalities from 2006 to 2010.”
There were 1,770 road deaths in the year June 2017-June 2018 - a figure that has been largely static every year since 2012.
It adds there were 25,484 serious injuries in road traffic accidents reported to the police in 2018.
This compares to the 26,610 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) reported to the police in the year June 2017-June 2018, and 26,664 in the year June 2016- June 2017.
Today’s figures show there were a total of 160,378 casualties of all severities in reported road traffic accidents in 2018. This is 6% lower than in 2017. It adds that accounting for change in traffic, the rate of fatalities per billion vehicle miles has fallen by 1% from 5.43 in 2017 to 5.38 in 2018.
In spite of some encouraging trends, IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, maintains that a succession of governments have chosen to brush the issue under the carpet.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “These figures underline the critical need to accelerate delivery of policies such a Graduated Driving Licences. The government road safety statement issued last Friday highlights many of the issues but was very short on actions.”
IAM RoadSmart wishes to see the following:
A 12-month minimum learning period with an online learning log for learner drivers to complete prior to taking the practical test. Low speed parking and turning manoeuvres could be assessed as part of this process. There is evidence that around 120 hours of driving experience in mixed conditions would produce safer new drivers but not all of this has to be with a paid-for instructor
IAM RoadSmart strongly supports the development of a 'post' or 'second' phase test as part of a refreshed licensing system. After passing the practical test refresher and eco driving lessons must be taken before full license status is granted. IAM RoadSmart wants to work with stakeholders to develop the best solution using the resources currently available in the UK
Alongside these interventions IAM RoadSmart supports some graduated license controls in the first year/six months of driving, for example to limit the number of peer passengers (but no limit on older passengers) and a lower blood alcohol limit
However, the charity welcomes the new inquiry to explore road safety for young and novice drivers announced today (reference 2).
Young drivers age 17-24 account for seven percent of the UK’s driving licence holders, but alarmingly are involved in 20% of fatal and serious collisions.