Home Menu Search

RAC Foundation renews call for young driver green paper

18 May 2015

Story from the RAC Foundation.

In 2013, 234 teenage car passengers were killed or seriously injured in Great Britain when the young driver (17-19) they were travelling with was involved in a crash.

When casualties of all severities are included the annual figure rose to 2,144. These numbers were calculated by the RAC Foundation using MAST Online.

The data shows that of all teenage car passengers killed or seriously injured over this period, 45% were passengers in cars driven by 17-19 year olds.

Previous research for the RAC Foundation showed that while teenage drivers (17-19) make up only 1.5% of full licence holders they are involved in 12% of accidents where someone is killed or seriously hurt.

One in five newly qualified young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.

The annual figures suggest the number of teenagers hurt in accidents where a teenager is driving has declined over recent years and at a faster rate than the general fall in road casualties. But rather than indicating that young drivers are becoming inherently safer it has been argued that the drop is down to:

  • Falling licence holding among young people
  • Falling trip rates among young people
  • Safer cars

In light of the figures, the RAC Foundation is renewing its call for the publication of a green paper on young driver safety, something that was promised by the coalition government but not delivered. Potential solutions include the wider use of telematics ‘black box’ insurance – where safer driving styles are rewarded with lower insurance premiums – and graduated licensing.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The casualty figures do not cast blame for accidents, but given the disproportionate number of young drivers involved in accidents the conclusion must be that many teenagers are being killed by the inexperience of their friends at the wheel.

“The increasing take-up of telematics-based insurance may help cut young driver accidents but graduated licensing has shown consistent positive results around the world.

“Graduated licensing has been common in many countries for some time and would help keep newly qualified young drivers, and their passengers, safe during the critical first thousand miles after people have passed their test. It is a tragedy it has not been introduced or even debated as a policy option.”

Related news, events and information

GDL updates casualty reduction estimates

23 May 2018 – Given the renewed focus on Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), the RAC Foundation has used the latest available...

Graduated licensing for young drivers

17 July 2013 – Story from the RAC Foundation One in five young drivers (17-24 year-olds) will have an accident within six...

Study confirms benefits of graduated driver licensing

14 October 2022 – Graduated driver licensing (GDL) can improve road safety whilst having minimal impact on new drivers' access to...

Graduated Driver Licensing - Casualty Savings

1 June 2014 – Graduated Driver Licensing: a regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain: RAC Foundation...

New report on young people drinking and driving.

24 June 2014 – While the past decade has seen the number of people killed or seriously injured in a crash involving...

ABI calls for an overhaul in how young people learn to drive

6 October 2012 – A safer start for young drivers - ABI calls for an overhaul in how young people learn to drive Radical...

Supporting New Drivers in Great Britain

17 January 2023 – This report, prepared by TRL for the RAC Foundation and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, finds that graduated...

Report shows dramatic fall in young driver crashes.

16 April 2015 – A new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the number of teen drivers involved...

Northern Ireland moves towards lower drink drive limit and GDL

6 July 2015 – Story from Road Safety GB The drink drive proposals will see the introduction of a lower limit as introduced...