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The Impact of Young Driver Crashes

The human cost of crashes involving young drivers has been plotted across 49 different areas of Britain for the first time, and has highlighted significant regional variations.

The work has been done by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in a report commissioned by the RAC Foundation.

The report reveals that nearly one in eight (11.9%) of all road casualties are hurt or killed in collisions involving a car driver aged 17-19. This is despite 17-19 year-olds making up only 1.5% of licensed drivers.

The proportion of casualties is highest in Dyfed Powys at almost one in five (18.2%). This is followed by Gwent (17%), Cumbria and North Wales (15.8%), Northern and Grampian (15.7%) and Cornwall (15.5%). London had the smallest proportion (5.6%).

TRL also made a conservative estimate of what the reduction in casualties would be in each area if a system of graduated driving licensing (GDL) was introduced.

Based on the experience of other countries where GDL is in operation, the report authors concluded that across Britain about 4,500 fewer people would be hurt in an average year. This includes about 430 people who would otherwise have been killed or seriously injured.

“We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable,” commented Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation. “This is about ensuring their long term safety and mobility. Not curtailing it.”

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