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Tuesday 23rd August 2011

Training will combat young driver crashes: IAM

6 readers have commented on this story

The IAM is calling for post test training for younger drivers in response to figures revealed in one of its own reports that young drivers are 15% more likely to crash than older drivers.

Licensed to skill, contributory factors in accidents, reveals that for drivers aged under 20 years, ‘driver and rider error or reaction factors’ account for 50% of crashes. This falls to 42% of drivers and riders in their 20s and 33% for those aged between 40 and 60.

Factors associated with a more aggressive driving style are also more prevalent in younger driver crashes. These include ‘loss of control’ (a factor in 14.5% of crashes), ‘travelling too fast for the conditions’ (10.5%), ‘exceeding the speed limit’ (6%) and ‘sudden braking’ (5%).

The IAM is calling for post-test training for young drivers in the first 12 to 18 months after passing their driving test. A similar scheme in Austria has cut the death rate for young male drivers by 30%.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “17 to 25-year-olds are only 15% of the driving population and yet they have 30% of all accidents and account for 40% of insurance claims. It’s clear that handing a driving licence over without offering further help is putting far too many young people at unacceptable risk.

“The Government, the motoring industry, and insurance companies need to work together to ensure that young people continue to improve their driving, particularly after passing their test.

“Post-test training that gives extra hours behind the wheel, including coaching on the critical risks such as rural roads, night time driving, weather and the effect of passengers, will save lives.”

For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.

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Comment The Institute of Advanced Drivers is not the first organisation nor will it be the last to call for post-test training for younger drivers. Whilst further training will undoubtedly prove beneficial for some young drivers, it is rather akin to bolting the stable door once the horse has bolted.

Although young people are involved in more accidents and are far more likely to die or injure themselves than older drivers, apart from a few exceptions, this in its self does not mean that young people engage in anymore acts of reckless or dangerous driving manoeuvres than older drivers. Taken at face value this seems a ridiculous statement to make, but may I suggest you undertake a survey of your own driving experience for a week and I would give even money that majority of drivers who drive too close, undertake, cut in, swerve from lane to lane, brake hard, are either middle aged or above the age of 25, one thing for sure, the majority will not be seventeen or eighteen year olds.

There are a multiple of reasons why so many youngsters have accidents and not all will be erased by having post-test training. Of course inexperience has a large part to play in teenage accidents but so does the inadequate and inappropriate driving lessons given by very many Driving Schools. It is well known that many ADIís take pride in the fact that they can get a pupil through the practical driving test in 30 lessons or less, when the average should be 40 plus. If you were a young person having to pay on average £26 a lesson, who would you rather be taught by? Of course you would choose the instructor who is going to save you £260.00.

We will not significantly reduce accidents involving young people until we change the whole system of teaching and learning to drive including the eradication of the belief that driving a car is a rite of passage for young people.

RoadDriver believes there should be a minimum number of lessons undertaken by a qualified instructor before someone is eligible to sit the practical test. To reinforce the drive safely message, the DSA should consider changing the name of the practical driving test to the ďDriving Safely Practical Assessment TestĒ and all Driving Schools and ADIís should be encouraged to name tuition as Driving Safely Lessons and to understand that their job is to teach a person to drive safely and prepare them for solo driving, not just to pass the practical test.

Dave Finny from Slough made a very good point about the fact that many cars that young people can afford to drive do not have the latest anti brake or traction systems. Teaching young people to drive in a one or two year old modern car is rather akin to teaching a soldier to use the latest rifle and then sending him into battle with an old flintlock. Iím not suggesting that we restrict all young people from driving older cars, but we ought to teach them the difference between a modern cars ability to stay in a straight line around a bend at fifty miles an hour and the inability of a ten or fifteen year old fiesta without anti-locking brakes, traction control and inadequate shock absorbers to do the same.

Parents need to take more control on how and when their teenager learns to drive. There needs to be set rules and guidelines laid down by the parents well before permission is given to a teenager to start the process of learning to drive. No use trying to set down limits or restrictions on driving after a teenager has passed their test for as many parents know; there is absolutely no point in trying to instil discipline into a teenager who has never been brought up with borders of guidelines.

I believe that we need a root and branch review of how we teach the driving skills and risk awareness necessary to keep youngsters safe in order to protect them from the perils of driving a motor car with all the complexities that teenagers have to cope with, from peer pressure to over confidence, to inadequate first time cars.
Charles Dunn, RoadDriver.co.uk


Comment Susan, Dave and Andy,

Unless Iíve missed something here, no one is advocating more TESTING. The idea is additional training.

Up until the point of passing the driving test, all learners are performing. They are, mostly, doing the things they do because they want to pass their test. Once they have passed their test they have no one to help them to cope and very quickly develop their own style of driving.

If they had a very good instructor who took the trouble to explain why they should act in a particular way and if they are caring enough to accept these points and continue to drive in that way they may be all right. Those are two very big Ifs. So why not take a look at what they are doing after a few weeks, (if they have lasted that long), and use different and more real world motivations. Understanding the actions and distractions that can lead to a crash, after you have had a little experience of driving unsupervised, can help. Some, of course, are beyond help and in these cases the privilege of driving must be removed.

Recently I was looking at a study which highlighted the point that the same group of drivers who have the most serious and greatest number of crashes are also the group of people who most often find themselves in physical conflict situations both socially and at work.

I believe that the more post test TRAINING that is done the more we can find the triggers that will lead to positive responses. It canít do any harm, can it?
David Clark, North Yorkshire


Comment With experience comes better awareness and anticipation. This happens whether extra tests are taken or not. I would not be against more testing but it should be for ALL drivers (every ten years say, when photo licence needs replacing)and the training should be carried out by qualified ADIs.
Andy, Warwick


Comment We need a bit more evidence and less political spin.

All these reports fail to mention that young drivers tend to have less money than us so tend to be driving cars that don't have ABS, airbags, latest crumple zones etc.

I might not have a crash because my ABS and electronic stability system saves me yet the exact same circumstances might put a young person in hospital.

A crash that I do have I may walk away uninjured due to the safety features yet the exact same circumstances might again put a young person in hospital.

On the other hand young people may tend to do far less mileage which would show as an even greater risk/mile.

Also making the test yet harder still may encourage more unlicenced (and therefore uninsured) driving.

Also demonising young drivers hardly engenders a receptive response to road safety messages (and they are trying to be responsible) so (and I turn away from evidence to my opinion here) I feel that less "stick" and more "carrot" may achieve better results.

And by that I mean FAR less "stick" and FAR more "carrot".

But we have no money left so we can't spend money directly. For carrot how about cheaper car tax if a new driver passes the IAM test?

For less stick, remove the 6 points ban?
Dave Finney - Slough


Comment Post test anything is so difficult to enforce/mandate. Once you have got your licence who wants more testing? Surely what DSA should be doing is ensuring new drivers are better trained/tested BEFORE they get their licence? What did happen to that 'root and branch review' at DSA?...or did I miss that publication?
Susan, Northamptonshire


Comment Atkins report for the Scottish Government raised similar issues. Link below

http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/strategy-and-research/publications-and-consultations/j13564-00.htm
Peter, Manchester


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