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Young drivers four times more likely to be involved in road accidents

Tanya-Lofthouse-at-Jordan's-grave-1

Image: Tanya Lofthouse at the grave of Jordan Dowson (details below)

Young drivers are four times more likely to be involved in road accidents than other drivers – with the risk increasing when they have a car full of friends.

Road Safety GB North East is launching a Young Driver campaign today (Monday – Sept 26) as it revealed the main causes of accidents for people aged between 17 and 24 are failing to look properly, risk-taking, distraction, speeding, inexperience and driving while impaired by drink or drugs.

Paul Watson, Chairman of Road Safety GB North East, said: “We know a lot of young drivers are good drivers, however, figures show that if you are aged 17-24 you are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other people. This may be due to their own actions, or simply inexperience at avoiding the dangerous actions of other drivers.

“We are urging young drivers to do everything they can to safeguard themselves and their passengers, by being sensible and taking responsibility for each other. If the driver is acting irresponsibly, tell them to stop. If a passenger is distracting the driver, do something about it. Good mates do what’s right and look out for each other.”

He added: “If you focus solely on the road, you have a much better chance of avoiding a collision. Young drivers may not always be concerned about their own welfare, but could they live with the guilt if their behaviour led to the death of a friend? That’s the reality.”

Between 2011 and 2015, almost a third of road accident injuries in the region related to collisions involving young drivers. Whilst young drivers were not at fault for all collisions they were involved in, figures showed that about 20% of all people injured were aged between 17 and 24, despite that age bracket only accounting for only 7% of driving licence-holders.

Whilst there has been a decrease in young driver accidents in recent years, nationally, after suicide, road traffic accidents are the main cause of death of young people.

In the past five years, 38 young drivers have been killed on the region’s roads, 440 were seriously injured and almost 4,000 slightly injured. However, a total of 64 young people have died in that time, including passengers and pedestrians.

The more rural counties of County Durham and Northumberland have the highest young driver casualties, with Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside following behind.

Number and severity of young driver casualties by local authority in the north east:

Local Authority

Fatal

Serious

KSI

Slight

Total

County Durham

16

102

118

789

907

Darlington

2

13

15

171

186

Gateshead

2

34

36

348

384

Hartlepool

0

18

18

115

133

Middlesbrough

0

20

20

225

245

Newcastle upon Tyne

0

45

45

471

516

North Tyneside

1

17

18

277

295

Northumberland

7

57

64

580

644

Redcar and Cleveland

3

34

37

159

196

South Tyneside

1

21

22

173

195

Stockton-on-Tees

1

40

41

230

271

Sunderland

5

39

44

433

477

North East Total

38

440

478

3,971

4,449

 As the nights draw in and the weather starts to worsen, RSGB NE is hoping its Young Driver campaign – which is supported by police and the emergency services – will help to change behaviour and reduce casualty figures.

Paul added: “Failure to look is a big cause for concern because almost a quarter of collisions involving young people are simply down to the driver not looking at the road around them properly.

“However, a common theme is also inexperience and risk-taking because the figures show us that they are more likely to crash in wet and poor weather conditions than other drivers, perhaps because they haven’t slowed down sufficiently, and that they are more likely to crash because of careless or reckless behaviour.

“We can change this behaviour by talking to young people about the risks and making them think about their actions.”

Chief Inspector John Heckels, of the Operations Department, said: "We have done a lot of work visiting schools, colleges and community groups to educate young people about the consequences of bad driving.

"A car in the wrong hands will not just kill one person, it could kill several people in a split second, and that is a message we give to people when we're talking about taking road safety for granted.

"Our Op Dragoon team have made huge strides in tackling poor driving on our roads and they will continue to target drivers who repeatedly take the law into their own hands and put the lives of others at risk when they take to the road."

Ron Hogg, Durham's Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner, said: “Sometimes it can be drivers’ behaviour, and not their driving skills, that causes collisions. Therefore, campaigns such as this one are vitally important to get the message across to our young people.

“Nobody wants to deal with heartbreak and loss of a family member or friend, due to a needless accident on our roads. I urge drivers to think twice and take extra care before getting behind the wheel.”

For more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign go to www.lookoutroadsafety.co.uk.

Follow Road Safety GB North East on social media:

-ENDS

  • Image - Shows Tanya Lofthouse: The family of talented footballer Jordan Dowson said they will never recover from his death and are supporting Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) as it launches its Young Driver campaign - Read more here.
Posted on Monday 26th September 2016
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