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RAC Foundation Raises Concern About Teenage Road Deaths

By raccars Published

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The RAC Foundation is highlighting its concern that every week sees four teenagers die or get seriously injured in an accident while passengers in a car. Statistics for 2013 show that 234 teenagers were killed or injured in a crash while passengers in cars driven by 17-19 year olds.

The Foundation's research showed that figure went up to 2,144 when minor injuries were included. Earlier research has shown that while only 1.5% of driving licence holders are aged between 17-19, this group is involved in 12% of accidents where deaths or serious injuries have occurred. Twenty per cent of young, recently qualified drivers will be involved in a car accident in the first six months after passing their test.

The motoring safety charity is pushing the government to take action on a problem it claims is being neglected. The director of the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister, has expressed disappointment that the problem has not been tackled by previous governments and claims that road safety is given less priority in Whitehall than other areas of health and social policy. Mr Glaister is calling for a green paper tackling the issue of young driver safety, pointing out that the recently departed coalition government has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises to do so.

Statistically, deaths and injuries to teenage passengers driven by a 17-19 year old have been falling annually - and more significantly than the overall rate of road casualties. However, the RAC Foundation has attributed this to the fact that fewer teenagers have driving licences and cars, and the fact that the modern cars they do drive are safer, instead of improvements in driving safety among teenagers.

Road safety charity, Brake, claims its research suggests that young drivers tend to take bigger risks on the road than older motorists, such as driving too fast, overtaking on blind corners, driving under the influence of drugs and failing to wear a seatbelt.

The RAC Foundation has recommended a graduated licence scheme as part of the solution to the problem, which would stipulate a minimum period of learning before implementing restrictions in the first year or two of driving. Also included would be a curfew on driving at night and a limit on passenger numbers. The charity's director claims that other countries have used similar systems with success, citing the first 1,000 miles of solo driving after passing the test as a critical period for road safety.

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