Traffic: it’s undoubtedly dangerous, but shockingly, it is also the biggest killer of young people in Britain.
The statistics make for grim reading. One in five road deaths involves a person aged 15-24, equating to 13 deaths and serious injuries every day.
All the more worrying is that young drivers make up just 12 per cent of road users. Unsurprisingly, motorists young and old are calling for reform in the way that drivers are tested and issued licences.
A survey conducted by road safety charity Brake and car insurance providers Direct Line showed that 84 per cent of drivers were in favour of a minimum learning period for new drivers. It’s not just older motorists either, with 69 per cent of under 25s surveyed also agreeing to the proposals.
Over half of respondents (58 per cent) thought that this minimum period of supervised learning should be at least 35 hours, and 90 per cent agreed that this should include motorway tuition and lessons in difficult conditions.
Motorists also support increased restrictions on newly qualified drivers, with 63 per cent of young drivers backing a call for a zero drink-drive limit.
Gus Park, commercial director at Direct Line, said: "Young drivers make up only one in eight licence holders, but are involved in crashes that result in one in five road deaths and serious injuries. We believe that these statistics can be changed substantially through the implementation of graduated driver licensing.
“It would have a positive effect on the driving behaviour and habits of young people, particularly in the critical period just after passing their test, and more importantly, reduce catastrophic road crashes and save lives."
Graduated licencing is a system by which new drivers would get increased freedom on the road as they become more experienced. Initial restictions could range from limits on passengers and a curfew on late-night driving – situations which have proved particularly tricky for new drivers.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake said: "The government has an opportunity to make a real difference to road safety and save a lot of young lives through reforming our driver licensing system.
“Death and serious injury on roads is devastating, especially so when it involves someone young, with their whole life ahead of them. Evidence on how to reduce young driver crashes is very clear; by introducing a system of graduated licensing we can expect to make real inroads to ending the devastation caused by young driver crashes.
“We're calling on government to take bold steps by introducing all elements of graduated licensing – including a minimum learning period and post-test licence restrictions.”