To help children be safer on our roads, we’d like a far better driver training and testing system, better alternatives to driving for children, and investment in monitoring technology for young drivers. These recommendations are outlined below.
Graduated driver licensing
New drivers are subject to more restrictions than experienced drivers. A person’s license is often revoked if they accumulate six penalty points within two years of passing their driving test.
The Government is currently consulting on new measures to form young drivers safer on the roads. These measures form a part of an approach referred to as ‘graduated driver licensing’. The proposals include banning young drivers from traveling in the dark, introducing a minimum learning period, and not driving with passengers under a particular age within the vehicle.
Graduated driver licensing (GDL) allows new drivers to create up their driving skills and knowledge gradually through a more staged and structured approach to learning to drive, including a minimum learning period followed by a post-test novice driver period with license restrictions. This restricted novice period helps to limit the exposure of the latest drivers to the damaging situations highlighted above, including driving in the dark and carrying passengers.
Evidence suggests that introducing graduated driver licensing in Great Britain could save a minimum of 4,471 casualties, and this is often a conservative estimate.
Research has found that fatal collisions involving young drivers have reduced by 9% in countries that have introduced GDL schemes, while overall casualties have reduced by 5%.
Provide better alternatives to driving
Because of young people’s propensity for risk-taking, thanks to the late development of the brain’s lobe (see ‘increased risk-taking’, above), the younger you’re once you get a driver’s license the greater the danger. A UK study predicted that children would have 9% fewer crashes in their first year of driving if they delayed learning to drive until 18 years old instead of 17, and an extra 8% fewer if they delayed until 19 years old.
The proportion of young drivers holding a full driver’s license has decreased since the first 1990s. In 1997/97, 43% of 17-20-year-olds held a driver’s license, compared with 31% in 2016.
Encouraging children to delay or avoid learning to drive can, therefore, have a big impact on safety. Many children learn to drive as soon as possible because they feel they need little other option for getting around. A Brake and Direct Line survey found almost half drivers (48%), and three in ten children (28%), think conveyance isn’t ok to supply a sensible alternative to driving in their area . Brake believes improving access to and affordability of conveyance, and walking and cycling routes to workplaces and colleges, should be a priority for central government and native authorities.
Monitor and influence young drivers through technology
Some insurers offer ‘black box’ technology to young drivers. These devices monitor their speed and therefore the times they’re on the road and maybe wont to set curfews so young drivers aren’t ready to drive during high-risk hours, i.e. late in the dark. Young drivers abiding by these rules are often given discounts on their insurance, which has been shown to be an efficient incentive to scale back young driver speeds.
Black boxes also can be wont to allow parents to watch young drivers’ behavior: also as providing peace of mind for the oldsters and guardians of young drivers, parental monitoring has been found to scale back risky driving.
In the US, parent/young driver agreements are popular. The new driver is allowed to drive the family car or their own car, unsupervised, if they comply with certain conditions for the primary year or two of driving. The conditions include restrictions on carrying passengers and driving in the dark, almost like formal restrictions imposed under GDL (as above). Although not legally binding, parents could enforce the principles by stating, for instance, that their teenager isn’t allowed to drive for every week if they break any of the principles.