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Fleet-style driver assessments would cut young driver crashes

16 December 2008

Company car driver-style online risk assessments with additional training for ‘high’ risk drivers should be introduced for young male drivers, according to David Kenworthy, chairman of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

He has called for a major corporate donor to support a pilot project and, if the scheme works and deaths and injuries are shown to reduce then the Department for Transport or Driving Standards Agency should consider mandating the programme.

Road crashes are the single biggest killer of young people in the UK with almost 1,200 killed or seriously injured on the roads every year. Young drivers, especially those under 20, are nearly 12 times more likely than those aged 35-65 to have caused a fatal crash than to have been innocently involved.

Finding solutions to cut the carnage among young drivers is one of the biggest challenges facing road safety professionals. Those most at risk are young men aged 17-20 within 12 months of passing their test.

IAM Commercial leads more than 35,000 at-work drivers through occupational risk management programmes annually.

“If we can do that for company car drivers, why not adopt a similar scheme for young male drivers,” said Mr Kenworthy at this year’s IAM Annual Lunch. “It might not be an issue of skill but of attitude. Changing attitudes in driving may have a spin-off in changing attitudes to life. Young drivers are too precious to be squandered for lack of action.”

He envisages that a pilot scheme would involve young men who have passed their test taking an online risk assessment at fixed periods in the first six or 12 months of them getting behind the wheel. Those deemed most at risk would receive additional driver training.