- Young drivers more likely to make a catastrophic claim
- 76% agree restrictions should apply
- Talk of restricting amount of passengers for new driver
Whats it all about?
Recent reports on road traffic accident trends have led to calls from the Association of British Insurers to place restrictions on new and young drivers. The ABI carried out surveys in 2010 based on motor insurance claims relating to road traffic accidents which indicate that young drivers are over represented in accident statistics, but considered against recently released statistics from the department of transport the picture of dangerous young drivers becomes less clear. The ABI aren’t making modest recommendations but are we persecuting our young drivers unfairly and will introducing these kind of restrictions actually get us anywhere?
ABI’s report and the restrictions proposed
According to ABI young drivers are “grossly overrepresented in official accident figures”. A 2010 review by ABI showed that 17-24 year olds with two years or less driving experience are more likely to make a catastrophic claim involving life-changing injuries than newly qualified 37-44 year old drivers with the same experience. Young drivers are all more likely to make a catastrophic claim as opposed to a minor collision claim and the claim is more likely to include a greater number of people in the crash.
The report shows that crashes involving young drivers tend to occur:
- At night
- When driving round sharp bends at high speeds
- In bad driving conditions
- With passengers
- If the driver has a particular “attitude”
For this reason ABI have made the following recommendations:
- A minimum 12 month learning period before the test can be taken so that drivers have better practise and don’t rush to pass without getting proper experience on the road.
- A ban on intensive driving courses
- Lowering the age at which young people can learn to drive to 16 ½ years old.
- Limiting the number of young passengers that can be carried by a young driver
- Restrictions of driving during night-time hours
- Lowering of blood alcohol concentration for drivers aged between 17-24.
ABI stats against Government stats – what’s the real deal?
Though ABI’s statistics don’t in any sense contradict recently released Government statistics it’s good to take ABI’s findings in conjunction with Gov stats so we don’t end up persecuting our young drivers. According to the Department of Transport 2011 Annual Report on Road Causalities in Great Britain the number one cause of road accidents is ‘failed to look properly’ with ‘inexperience’ coming further down the list. Of course, these two aren’t necessarily separable; a young person could not look properly because of inexperience and in this instance the categorisation of which “contributing factor” is really at work is subjectively decided by the individual police officer.
The big picture
To consider ABI’s findings in the context of overall statistics ensures that we don’t unfairly persecute young drivers. Though young people are evidently more susceptible to accidents focus should be on working with young drivers to try and prevent fatal or life-changing accidents rather than perpetuating stereotypes which make young people feel alienated or hard done by, as ABI are keen to emphasise.
Would these restrictions work?
The department for transport have announced they are considering looking into the restriction of passengers for new drivers to prevent peer pressure egging on young people to drive dangerously. The restrictions themselves seem to be very popular with 76% agreeing that there should be some restrictions on young drivers after passing the driving test.
The difficulty may be how practical enforcing restrictions on who young people can take in their car might be. In real terms how viable is it to make a group of friends all going to the same place drive in a different car? Is this really what we want to promote?
Altering the driving test?
Alterations to the driving test experience can be more controlled as they happen before young drivers are let out on the road, but what will the cost be of trying enforce the other restrictions and how will they make young people feel? Speaking to The Telegraphy, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety Robert emphasised the importance of education and instruction as key saying,
“As well as looking at post-test restrictions, we also need to improve driver training and instruction and the quality of learning. IN that way, we can build quality driver learning.”
- Are Young Drivers Really More Likely to Crash?
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