Welcoming the news that 229 fewer people were killed on the UK’s roads in 2007 than in 2006, bringing the total number of fatalities below 3,000 for the first time ever, the RAC Foundation’s analysis of Road Casualties Great Britan: 2007 shows that over half of the improvement in car driver fatalities has come from the much-criticised young driver community.
72 fewer young drivers (16 – 29) died on the roads in 2007 than in 2006, contributing 58% of the overall fall of 124 car driver fatalities. However, there is no room for complacency, with drivers between 16 and 29 making up 42% of all driver fatalities.
The RAC Foundation believes that high profile safety campaigns, encouraging positive attitudes towards road safety among those at the start of their driving careers, are the main factor behind these improvements.
However, fundamental problems still need to be addressed. These include:
· bad driving: one-third of accidents in 2007 were caused by “failure to look properly.”
· Drink-driving: drivers over the limit for alcohol caused 16% of all road deaths in 2007
· Distractions: recent RAC Foundation research* has underlined the massive road safety problems caused by using mobile phones behind the wheel.
These problems can only be tackled by consistent, high-profile enforcement of the law by expert traffic police.
Sheila Rainger, deputy director of the RAC Foundation said: “It is a pleasure to be able to commend young drivers for making such a huge improvement in road safety. However, the road safety community must continue working to ensure this is a sustained improvement and not a flash in the pan.
“Continuing to develop positive driver attitudes, particularly among young and novice drivers; encouraging better communication between road users; supporting high-profile enforcement by traffic police, and implementing engineering improvements at known accident hotspots will help to sustain this improvement.”
*The Effect of Text Messaging on Driver Behaviour: 2008