One in five newly qualified drivers in the UK are involved in a crash within 6 months of taking their driving test. The majority of these are young drivers and crash rates of young drivers are increasing against a backdrop of decreasing crashes involving other road users.
Graduated Driver Licensing aims to tackle the problem of new driver crashes by reducing exposure to high risk driving situations. The highest risk situations for newly qualified young drivers are driving late at night and driving with passengers of a similar age.
Graduated Driver Licensing has been shown in a number of countries (New Zealand, Australia, various states of the US and parts of Europe) to reduce road crash fatalities and casualties. Casualty and fatality reductions of up to 60% have been observed in these countries and, in addition, it has been shown that graduated driver licensing leads parents and young people to feel more empowered.
The general approach is to set a fixed length learner period of 6 to 12 months, followed by an intermediate period of 24 to 30 months, before gaining a full licence. During the intermediate phase, the driver has permission to drive unaccompanied during the day time, but does not have permission to drive unaccompanied at night or with passengers, unless accompanied by a fully qualified supervisor. There is zero tolerance on alcohol consumption for the young driver and, if appropriate, the accompanying supervisor. Some schemes apply to all new drivers, others to just new young drivers.
Dr Sarah Jones, of Cardiff University, has put together a letter that can be sent to MPs, along with a spreadsheet which shows that the upper estimate of the number of lives and serious injuries that could be saved by GDL each year in your constituency (Column 1) and the estimated value of preventing these deaths and injuries in millions of pounds (Column 2).
For further information and references, please contact Dr Sarah J Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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