Research presented at Brake's 9th Road Safety Forum International Congress on June 30 revealed that when it comes to saving lives on roads, addressing risk-taking among young male drivers is critical.  

Brake's campaigns director Julie Townsend spoke about the needless loss of young lives on roads. She revealed that each year in Britain, one young male driver in every 60 experiences a road crash involving the death or injury of themselves, a passenger or another road user. These crashes are violent, traumatic events that cause great physical and psychological harm, and constitute a significant economic burden.  

She addressed an audience of road safety professionals, civil servants and academics, asking them to focus efforts on eradicating sudden and violent deaths and injuries caused by young male drivers. She highlighted the inadequacies of the UK's learning to drive system, which means drivers without sufficient experience and maturity must face the complex challenges of driving unsupervised and unrestricted.  

She outlined Brake's calls for a system of Graduated Driver Licensing in the UK, urging the Government to learn from international experience and research in tackling young driver crashes, including that being presented at the conference.Click here to read about Brake's campaign for Graduated Driver Licensing 

She also revealed statistical analysis showing the significant risk of young male drivers being themselves killed or seriously injured in a crash, and how this risk decreases as they get older: 

·  One 17 year old male driver in every 451 is killed or suffers serious injury, many life-changing, on the road before they reach their 18th birthday.  

·  Once male drivers reach 18, the risk decreases to one in every 634 killed or seriously injured that year.  

·  By age 19, the risk has nearly halved. One in every 841 19 year old male drivers is killed or seriously injured on the road.  


Other key speakers included:

·  Professor Emeritus Stephen Stradling, Professor in Transport Psychology, Edinburgh Napier University Explained how Graduated Driver Licensing attempts to extend the calibration period for young drivers, give graded exposure to higher task-demand situations such as darkness, country roads and unfamiliar motorways, and reduce the risks of distraction from passengers. He argues that there is a theoretical justification for Graduated Driver Licensing, as well as successful international evaluations.
 · Professor Rebecca Ivers, Director, The George Institute for Global Health, Australia Presented research that found young drivers from low socioeconomic areas have an 80% higher risk of crash-related hospitalisation independent of factors such as different driving exposure and rural-urban differences.

 · Dr Terry Lansdown, Senior Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University, UK Presented data that shows a widespread awareness of and engagement in distracting behaviours by UK drivers. Both young and male drivers were significantly more likely to undertake distracting in-vehicle tasks. 


Click here to view speaker presentations.


Julie Townsend, Brake's campaigns director, said: "There is an urgent need for the Government to show leadership in tackling young driver crashes. It's unacceptable that so many young male drivers are involved in these violent and traumatic events that have a lasting impact on their lives, in some tragic cases prematurely ending them. We have evidence that a system of Graduated Driver Licensing would be highly effective in helping to put a stop to this needless carnage." 

Colas Chief Executive, Lee Rushbrooke, expressed the company's enthusiasm at developing its relationship with Brake, said: "I am delighted that Colas is able to support this key international event for our valued charity partner. The importance of road safety in all its aspects is a message that our company is extremely proud to be associated with. Our own road safety initiative (SAID) is now in its tenth year and our hard work has rewarded us with highly valued results and reputation for driver safety.  It is exciting and satisfying to be able to share the benefits of what we have learned with the broader community, with particular shared focus with Brake on supporting young drivers."    

Nigel Lacy, Young Marmalade, said: "We actively help young drivers and specialise in keeping them, their passengers and other road users safe on the roads. We are happy to support this conference and hope that it leads to a reduction in those affected by the daily tragedies."  


Young driver risks 

Once young people hit 17 many of them start their driving career and, sadly, many of them find it's not nearly as fun as they thought. In fact, while young drivers aged between 17-24 account for 12% of licence holders, they are involved in one in four road deaths and serious injuries. One in five will crash in their first six months after passing their testand, every year, more than 3,300 young drivers and passengers aged 17-24 are killed or suffer a life-changing serious injury as a result of a road crash, taking many more innocent road users of all ages with them. There is something simple that we can do to stop this carnage. By changing the way that people learn to drive we can make an incredible difference.   


Brake's campaign calls to Government 

Brake's Too Young to Die campaign calls for a system of Graduated Driver Licensing, to allow new drivers to build their driving skills and experience gradually, while exposure to higher risk situations is restricted. Brake recommends a minimum learning to drive period of one year before taking a test. Once passed, the novice driver would be allowed to drive unsupervised but would have restrictions on their licence for a minimum period of two years, including a drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood (and effective zero tolerance limit), restrictions on passengers in their vehicle and restrictions on driving at night.  


After this minimum two year novice period, the driver would take a second test to show that they have skills to drive on all types of road, which if passed, would allow them access to a full licence.

Click here for more information on Graduated Driver Licensing. 


Posted: 16.39, 29.06.11,