A new paper - written for the RAC Foundation by Associate Professor Teresa Senserrick of the University of New South Wales and Neale Kinnear of TRL - asks whether we need a new approach to try and tackle the issue.

While all new drivers (whatever their age) are at increased risk of a crash when first starting to drive independently, young drivers are also affected by age-related influences related to the stage of their development. These include the well-recognised heightening of sensation-seeking and peer influences, but also the less well-known vulnerability to distractions and fatigue.

The paper argues that it is time to stop thinking about ‘problem’ young drivers and adopt a broader, more comprehensive approach to improving young driver safety, which goes beyond simply blaming individuals, and proposes a systems-based approach to young driver safety which looks at the social and environmental factors that put young drivers at risk.

It argues that there must be an evidence-based approach to managing known risk factors - like driving at night and with peer-passengers - that everyone involved in the development of new drivers can support. The paper advocates looking again at the successes achieved by different forms of graduated licensing introduced around the world.

Encouraging young people to use public transport at night and greater parental support during the early years of license-holding, for example, are ways to indirectly reduce young driver crash rates.

Read the full report here

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