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Brake backs Transport Select Committee call for action on young driver deaths

The charity Brake is calling for decisive action to tackle deaths and injuries involving young drivers, as a committee of MPs publishes recommendations that the Government acts quickly to curb the ‘appalling' crash rate among young people.

The Transport Select Committee's report on the cost of motor insurance welcomes the Government's intention to strengthen the driving test, but recommends it should publish plans within six months for this and other measures to reduce risks among novice drivers.

Brake is calling on the Government to overhaul the system for driver training and testing. Research indicates that a system of graduated driver licensing (GDL), used in many other countries, would significantly reduce young driver casualties. This typically includes a minimum learning period and novice driver period (during which exposure to high-risk situations is restricted), so drivers develop skills and experience gradually over time before becoming fully licensed. Brake is urging the Government to include commitments and challenging targets for tackling young driver casualties within its strategic framework for road safety, currently being developed.

Recently published Government statistics show that young drivers (age 17-24) are involved in one in four deaths and serious injuries on British roads, despite accounting for just one in eight licence holders. In 2009 there were 11 deaths and 111 serious injuries every week involving this age group. Read the statistics bulletin here.

Julie Townsend, campaigns director of Brake, says: "This review makes clear that urgent action is needed to address risks faced by young drivers, which is behind the higher insurance costs for this age group. This high crash risk not only drives up premiums, but, much worse, leads to lives being lost and ruined every day, often among young people themselves. We have plenty of evidence that graduated driver licensing would be effective in reducing these needless casualties, by enabling drivers to develop skills and experience over time before getting their full licence. We're calling on the Government to stop more young lives being wasted and take decisive steps now to reform driver learning and testing."

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