27 Jul 2018

Driving 'Bigger Threat to Teen Lives than Gun and Knife Crime'

Shocking new research has shown that driving is seen as more of a threat to the lives of teenagers than both gun and knife crime.

Published by the AA charitable trust, the research asked participants a number of questions, including 'What do you think is the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers?’. Of those surveyed, 16% answered with gun and knife crime (down from 25% ten years ago), while 17% named driving as the biggest concern, up from 11% in 2008.

The statistics may seem shocking at first, and maybe even unlikely given a rise in crime, but it does tally with the figures available on the causes of teen death. Car, van, and motorbike crashes are the number one cause of death for 16-24 year olds in the UK (48.5%), with murder following at 15.2%, so the public concern demonstrated in the AA survey is well-founded.

In order to promote better standards of safety for young drivers, Brake, the road safety charity, is recommending that the Government implements a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). A GDL offers a three-step system and would include a year-long learner period, an initial test, and a probationary period. Drivers would be allowed to drive independently once they reach this final stage, but restrictions, such as a curfew, could be put in place to limit their exposure to times where driving could be more dangerous.

“With the perception of the dangers facing young drivers finally catching up to the reality, it is clear that the Government must take decisive action in order to protect young lives,” comments Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake. “Twenty-five young drivers are killed or seriously injured on our roads every week and yet there is a proven solution which can prevent this, Graduated Driver Licencing.”

While it remains to be seen if a GDL system would ever be adopted in the UK, increased public knowledge of the dangers faced by young drivers is surely a positive step toward providing better protection and curbing the tragic loss of life.

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