RACF calls for young driver green paper in light of casualty stats

Teenage drivers are killing or injuring hundreds of their young friends and family each year.

In 2013 – the latest year for which figures are available - 234 teenage car passengers were killed or seriously injured in Great Britain when the young driver (17-19) they were travelling with was involved in a crash. This is more than four each week.

When casualties of all severities are included the annual figure rose 2,144 or around 41 each week.

The numbers were calculated by the RAC Foundation using MAST Online.

The data also shows that of all teenage car passengers killed or seriously injured over this period:

  • 45% were passengers in cars driven by 17-19 year-olds (1.5% of all full licence holders)
  • 23% were passengers in cars driven by 20-24 year-olds (5.8% of all full licence holders)
  • 31% were passengers in cars driven by drivers aged 25 and over (92.6% of all full licence holders)
  • 1% were passengers in cars driven by drivers aged 16 and under

 

Previous research for the RAC Foundation by TRL shows that while teenage drivers (17-19) make up only 1.5% of full licence holders they are involved in 12% of accidents where someone is killed or seriously hurt.

One in five newly qualified young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.

The annual figures suggest the number of teenagers hurt in accidents where a teenager is driving has declined over recent years and at a faster rate than the general fall in road casualties. But rather than indicating that young drivers are becoming inherently safer it has been argued that the drop is down to:

  • Falling licence holding among young people
  • Falling trip rates among young people
  • Safer cars

 

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The coalition government repeatedly promised to publish a green paper on young driver safety and repeatedly failed to do so. In the meantime young people have continued to die. We would urge the new government to do what the last one did not and debate the subject formally and publicly.

“The casualty figures do not cast blame for accidents, but given the disproportionate number of young drivers involved in accidents the conclusion must be that many teenagers are being killed by the inexperience of their friends at the wheel.

“Factor in casualty figures for young drivers themselves and other people who might be involved in these accidents and the scale of the problem only gets bigger.

“It is a great disappointment that successive governments have failed to tackle an issue that is causing so much physical and emotional pain.

“If this was any other area of social and health policy there would be debates in parliament and marches on Downing Street, but for some reason society seems to tolerate the carnage on our roads particularly that involving young people.

“The increasing take-up of telematics-based insurance may help cut young driver accidents but graduated licensing has shown consistent promise around the world.

“Graduated licensing has been common in many countries for some time and would help keep newly qualified young drivers, and their passengers, safe during the critical first thousand miles after people have passed their test. It is a tragedy it has not been introduced or even debated as a policy option.”

Teenage car passenger casualty statistics where driver is aged 17-19:

 

Year

Teenage car passengers killed where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

(all killed on the roads)

Teenage car passengers seriously injured

where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

(all seriously injured on roads)

Teenage car casualties of all severities

where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

(all hurt on the roads)

2011

34    (1,901)

289      (23,122)

3,274     (203,950)

2012

29     (1,754)

275      (23,039)

2,673     (195,723)

2013

20     (1,713)

214      (21,657)

2,144     (183,670)

 

 

 

 

3 year average

28 (1,789)

259 (22,606)

2,697 (194,448)

 

 

 

 

Percentage change

2011 -2013

-41% (-10%)

-26% (-6%)

-35% (-10%)

 

Car driver casualty statistics where driver is aged 17-19:

 

 Year

17-19 year old driver deaths

17-19 year old driver serious injuries

17-19 year old driver casualties of all

severities

2011

45

506

6,820

2012

57

408

5,758

2013

45

386

4,756

 

 

 

 

3 year average

49

433

5778

 

 

 

 

Percentage change

2011-2013

0%

-24%

-30%

 

This table breaks the figures down by police constabulary across England, Scotland and Wales.

Teenage (13-19 years) car passenger casualties by police force, 2013

 

Country

Police Force

Teenage car passengers killed where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

Teenage car passengers seriously injured
where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

Teenage car casualties of all severities
where young driver (17-19) at the wheel

England

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

1

5

61

Bedfordshire Police

-

2

26

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

-

4

34

Cheshire Constabulary

-

4

38

Cleveland Police

-

-

6

Cumbria Constabulary

-

3

39

Derbyshire Constabulary

-

5

46

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

-

7

90

Dorset Police

-

6

34

Durham Constabulary

1

-

15

Essex Police

-

3

60

Gloucestershire Constabulary

1

5

14

Greater Manchester Police

-

2

39

Hampshire Constabulary

1

7

70

Hertfordshire Constabulary

1

1

54

Humberside Police

-

2

34

Kent Police

-

4

106

Lancashire Constabulary

-

7

80

Leicestershire Constabulary

-

2

33

Lincolnshire Police

1

6

43

Merseyside Police

-

2

27

Metropolitan Police

1

4

62

Norfolk Constabulary

-

7

38

North Yorkshire Police

1

6

49

Northamptonshire Police

-

4

26

Northumbria Police

-

3

45

Nottinghamshire Police

1

2

31

South Yorkshire Police

1

10

63

Staffordshire Police

-

3

76

Suffolk Constabulary

2

6

41

Surrey Police

 

6

44

Sussex Police

3

14

78

Thames Valley Police

-

7

93

Warwickshire Police

-

3

18

West Mercia Police

-

3

42

West Midlands Police

1

8

53

West Yorkshire Police

-

8

78

Wiltshire Police

1

3

25

Scotland

Central Scotland Police

-

2

22

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary

-

3

6

Fife Constabulary

-

-

5

Tayside Police

2

4

15

Strathclyde Police

-

8

57

Northern Constabulary

-

-

16

Lothian and Borders Police

-

3

39

Grampian Police

-

6

31

Wales

Dyfed-Powys Police

1

5

34

Gwent Police

-

2

27

North Wales Police

-

3

30

South Wales Police

-

4

51

 

 

 

 

 

 

England

17

174

1811

 

Scotland

2

26

191

 

Wales

1

14

142

 

Great Britain

20

214

2144

 

Source: RAC Foundation using MAST Online / bhavin.makwana@racfoundation.org - 020 77473487

The official casualty data was interrogated using the MAST Online tool developed by Road Safety Analysis:

www.roadsafetyanalysis.org 

In 2013 the RAC Foundation published Young driver safety – solutions to an age-old problem

http://www.racfoundation.org/research/safety/young-driver-safety-research

In 2014 the RAC Foundation published Young driver crashes – mapping the casualties

http://www.racfoundation.org/media-centre/young-driver-crashes-mapping-the-casualties-press

In 2013 TRL published an assessment into the decline in road accident deaths and injuries:

http://www.trl.co.uk/reports-publications/trl-reports/road-safety/report/?reportid=6798

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