‘25% of drivers crash within 6 months’

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One in four new drivers crashes within the first six months of passing their test.

That’s what it says in the Make Roads Safe report by the UK’s AA Charitable Trust, which is is being launched today by former Formula One champion Nigel Mansell.

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A quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK have a crash within six months of taking and passing their driving test.

Given the relative standards of driving instruction here and in Britain, one can only imagine that the numbers for South Africa would be even worse. Even so, the report makes startling reading.

The authors surveyed 14 229 drivers who’d been involved in a car crash.

Their responses showed that a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK have a crash within six months of taking and passing their driving test. Twenty-six percent crash within two years of getting their licence and 40 percent are involved in a car crash by the time they are 23.

First crashes, however, are most likely to happen in the daytime - only 13 percent happen at night and most people (63 percent) have their first accident when they are alone in the car.

Asked how authorities could reduce the probability of accidents, almost three-quarters (73 percent ) of the drivers polled agreed that more opportunities needed to be provided to drive in a safe, off-road environment before drivers turned 18 and were let loose on the roads.

Mansell, who is now a member of the Commission for Global Road Safety, backed more road safety education.

“Somebody is being killed or maimed every six seconds.”

“This is an epidemic that is set to double within the next few years unless we take action,” he said. “It’s a vitally important issue, which doesn't get enough attention.

“Too many of our young people are still being killed, or injured, on the roads. These are preventable tragedies.”

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said work was needed to “stem this tide of carnage”.

“Road safety needs to begin many years before a person is old enough to apply for their learner’s licence,” he said.

“Road crashes are not only the leading cause of death and injury for young people in the UK, but also across the world.

“We need safer drivers in safer cars on safer roads to reduce these preventable deaths.” - Belfast Telegraph

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