Road Deaths: Forget the Weather and Get a Grip
The role that the weather plays (or not, as the case may be) in determining how may people die on the roads is ignored in the latest report from the Transport Select Committee (TSC).
Instead, the influential group of MPs opted for a bracing ‘get a grip’ conclusion to the government about how to deal with the first increase in road fatalities since 2003.
You will recall that the Transport Secretary attempted to blame exceptional weather during 2010 for making the numbers look particularly bad in 2011.
However, the TSC says it is disturbed by the rise in deaths, particularly among young drivers, and demands “stronger leadership”.
Chair Louise Ellman says: “It is shocking that road accidents are the main cause of death amongst young adults aged 16-24 and that so many cyclists continue to be killed or injured.
In 2010 there were 283 fatalities amongst car occupants aged 16-25. 27% of young men aged 17-19 are involved in a road collision within the first year of passing their test. If the government is not willing to set targets, it should show more leadership.”
These figures are supported by a report out from the AA which shows almost a quarter of young drivers are involved in a crash within six months of passing their driving test.
Furthermore, 37% of drivers have had a crash before they are 23 years old, and 28% before they were 21.
“As soon as the L plates come off, some new drivers choose to forget what they have learnt in order to pass their test,” says AA President Edmund King. “We have found that newly qualified drivers often need more training on speed control, risks on rural roads or driving at night.”
Ellman describes the figures as “very disturbing” and says her Committee wants the government to conduct a new review of the causes of deaths and accidents among young people on the roads.
It also wants an independent review of driver training. Evidence to its Inquiry earlier this year suggested the current driving test is not fit for purpose; Transport Minister Mike Penning also acknowledged there was more work to be done in this area.
With the figures quoted above, it’s not hard to see why.
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