Despite the ever-present backdrop of coronavirus, it has been a refreshing change this month to talk about the future without reference to it.
Early this month the AA gave oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee as part of its ongoing inquiry into the safety of young and novice drivers. Our evidence focused on education, enforcement, reforms to the learning to drive process and the role telematic insurance can play in helping bring the casualty rates down for new drivers.
We were part of a panel along with the Under 17 Car Club, who gave compelling evidence on the safety benefits that enhanced pre-test education can give. We have long been a supporter of the Under 17 Car Club, in fact several of my nieces and nephews took part in it and are still excellent and safe drivers today. The courses provide a welcome alternative to those who are calling for very restrictive post-test limits to be placed on new drivers. Limits such as curfews and passenger restrictions would not only put a damper on mobility but would be very difficult for the police to enforce.
As part of the inquiry, the committee ran some research groups with young people. The results were really interesting, and you can read about them on page 44.
One of the key findings was that all the people they spoke to were in favour of a zero-tolerance drink drive limit for young drivers. This is something the AA would be happy to support.
The latest drink drive figures show 16-24-year-olds account for 24% of all drink drive casualties, despite accounting for only 20% of all casualties and only around 7% of licences. Lowering the limit for them would help send a strong message about the dangers of drink driving and help to bring this down.
The ADI industry was also discussed by the committee and we stressed the value of fantastic tuition. We have always been in support of a mandatory logbook to track a learner’s progress and ensure their instructors have discussed issues (such as alcohol and passengers) with them as well as provided them with a varied driving experience. Our instructors already use a detailed logbook and I would urge any of you not already doing so to follow suit.
While I hope the committee will make positive recommendations to reduce the young driver casualty statistics, we do not have to wait for their report to ensure we are providing a varied and thorough learning experience for all our pupils. If nothing else, the committee’s thoughts on this really served to highlight the value of the job you do and the important role you play in improving road safety.
Edmund King OBE is best known for media appearances on the subject of motoring and transport policy. He is president of the Automobile Association and a visiting professor of transport at Newcastle University.
Source: ADI News
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