At a seminar organised by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) at the Department for Transport in Marsham Street on Wednesday 8 June, created to discuss education and training of young drivers, the AA will be calling for driving responsibility to become part of the National Curriculum.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, will also be pressing the DSA to bring greater credibility to the Pass Plus series of post driving-test training sessions by adding an examination.
“Young drivers pay extremely high premiums for their first car – and that is in no small measure down to the high risk of serious injury to themselves, other road users and particularly their passengers,” Mr Douglas points out. “It is vital that the responsibility that goes with owning a car is instilled at an earlier and more receptive age which is why it should be included in mainstream education.”
Teenage drivers are ten times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in crashes than drivers aged 35 or over and, while the number of collisions on Britain’s roads is falling, young drivers are taking a growing share of the total.
Bringing home both the human as well as monetary cost of serious crashes, AA Insurance has dealt with two crashes resulting in claims for over £5 million this year, both involving 18-year-old male drivers. In one, the young driver’s girlfriend suffered injuries expected to leave her wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life; in the other a head-on collision resulted in the driver’s passenger and the driver of the other car were killed.
“If education can help to prevent just a few tragic accidents of this sort it will be worth the investment. Too many young lives are lost in such circumstances. Road collisions are by far the biggest killer of young people in the UK today,” Mr Douglas says.
Pass Plus needs overhaul
The voluntary Pass Plus scheme has become discredited in the insurance industry because there is little difference in the number of crashes experienced by those who take it, compared with those who don’t.
Mr Douglas points out that the scheme involves six sessions covering different aspects of driving such as motorways, night driving, town and country driving. “They sessions are informal and there is no test. Insurers are much less likely to offer insurance discounts because there is no demonstrable benefit in terms of claims experience.
“In my view, Pass Plus should end with a test that will underline that the young driver has learned more about driving responsibly and safely and is putting it into practice.
“Insurers might then be inclined to offer more generous discounts than they do at present.”
Source : The AA