There have been articles appearing in the media about changes to the way “Young Drivers” can learn to drive.
There has been research and questions asked about how to improve driver training.
Please remember that nothing has been decided yet, nor will anything be decided for a long time.
At present, people can start learning to drive on the public highways at the age of 17. They can take their Driving Test at 17, and once they have passed the Test, they are then able to drive on any public roads, anywhere in Britain, without any further training, or any limitations other than limitations that apply to all drivers.
That means that a Young Driver can pass their Test, and then drive straight from the Test Centre where they live, along any motorway, at any time of day, in any weather conditions, in any traffic conditions, to any destination they wish, as long as they and the car are on the road legally.
Government Press Release. It seems that the Overhaul of Driver Training was instigated by British Motor Insurers concerned about the high insurance premiums being charged to Young Drivers, not by Bodies wanting to improve Road Safety.
I think the priority is wrong. Surely we should be concentrating on improving the quality of British Driving because it will save lives and injuries, not because of the price of insurance? The insurance premiums should naturally reduce in time to reflect the lower risks of driving. It should not be the reason for improving Driver Safety.
I have just been viewing the BBC website to find out what has been published by them.
They mention a minimum learning period of at least one year, including at least 100 hours of supervised driver training, and at least 20 hours of supervised driver training at night.
It does not state that all those hours have to be with an Approved Driving Instructor.
I am a firm believer that the more hours of constructive driving experienced, the better the driver will become, regardless of age.
Once the test is passed, there will be a Probationary period, which could include a curfew, and those under 30 will be banned from carrying passengers also under 30.
I think this is unlikely to work in its present wording; how will a new father under 30 years old carry his new child to school, hospital, shopping etc?
How will the Probationary Driver be able to receive further training if their Approved Driving Instructor is also under 30?
There is talk of a lower alcohol limit for Probationary Drivers.
I think it should be at least lowered for everyone. Could it be an alcohol limit of Zero? Why not?
Statistics show that 20% of deaths on British roads involved drivers aged 17-24 years old.
That is a very high, and scary statistic, which needs to be improved drastically, and fast.
Who is driving for the other 80% of the deaths?
Why are all drivers not being targeted to improve road safety?
According to ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents):
In the mid 1980s there were about 5500 road deaths each year. In 2012 there were 1754 road deaths.
This drop in numbers is encouraging, and shows that British drivers are becoming safer.
Are British Drivers becoming safer, or are the roads they are driving on becoming safer?
But we still need to remember that 5 people die on British roads EVERY DAY, and that does not include all the others who are injured, or those, including close and distance family members who are traumatised. That is a horrendous statistic. It has to be changed, across the whole range of ages, not just one section.
RoSPA's Causes of road deaths in the UK states:
Common causes of these unnecessary tragedies include:
Around 400 people a year are killed in crashes in which someone exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for the conditions.
Around 280 people die a year in crashes in which someone was over the legal drink drive limit.
Seat Belt Wearing
Around 200 lives each year could be saved if everyone always wore their seat belt.
More than 300 deaths a year involve someone being "careless, reckless or in a hurry", and a further 120 involve "aggressive driving".
Around one third of fatal and serious road crashes involve someone who was at work.
More than 400 people are killed in crashes involving young car drivers aged 17 to 24 years, every year, including over 150 young drivers, 90 passengers and more than 170 other road users.
Choose an Approved Driving Instructor who can help you learn to drive safely.
Learn to drive safely, with a safe attitude, and you should be able to minimise the risks in driving.
We cannot wait until there is a new Law before we bother trying to stay safe.. that could be another two years away, or more. With 1754 road deaths each year, we cannot wait that long.
When the Government has made its decision, we can work from there.
Once we have "sorted" the "Young Drivers", perhaps we need to urgently start on all the other Drivers as well.