Petition All new drivers must have a black box and be limited to carrying one passenger.
For the first year, young drivers must have a black box fitted before they can drive. Furthermore, they should only be able to carry one passenger, who must be an experienced driver. These changes should significantly decrease the amount of young road crash fatalities by encouraging safer driving.
Last year, I lost my best friend Olivia Alkir in a road crash. Unfortunately, she was not the first or the last to face an early grave due to reckless and dangerous driving, which is far too common among young drivers. In 2018, 777 car occupants were killed in road collisions, 308 of whom (40%) died in collisions involving a driver aged 17-24. I believe the changes I have proposed could prevent these disasters from happening to anyone else.
This response was given on 4 November 2020
The Government currently has no plans to introduce passenger restrictions or compulsory vehicle black boxes for any road users.
At the Department for Transport, the safety of all road users is of paramount importance. Any road death is a tragedy, and we offer our condolences to Olivia Alkir’s family and friends.
The number of fatalities aged 17 to 24 in reported road traffic accidents has decreased recently, with 248 fatalities in 2019 compared to 279 fatalities in 2018. This continues the general year on year downward trend amongst this group. There were also 26,988 young casualties of all severities, down 6% from 2018.
We do however acknowledge that in terms of population and in the number of miles driven, 17-24 year olds remain one of the highest fatality risk groups, especially males, both as car drivers and passengers.
The Department is always supportive of innovations that might lead to an improvement in safety, such as the use of black boxes. However, there are also costs associated with requiring black boxes to be fitted in every car, and their maintenance. The Department will continue to work with industry to explore technological and policy solutions to improving road safety, but we will always look to ensure good value for money for the consumer.
The Department takes any consideration of restrictions on any road users very seriously, particularly those in rural areas where there could be a negative impact on access to education, employment and leisure. To that end, it is not reasonable in the current COVID-19 climate to add further restrictions on young and novice drivers, whether that is compulsory black boxes or passenger restrictions, which could be detrimental to the younger generation’s prospects for employment, education or livelihood.
For young road users the Department’s broad aim is to improve road safety through new technology and research; and particularly for young drivers, developing better learning opportunities and targeted educational messaging.
In July 2019, the Department published its refreshed Road Safety Statement – ‘A Lifetime of Road Safety’ and two-year action plan. 15 of the 74 actions in the plan address road safety risks faced by young adults learning to drive.
We are currently funding a research programme investigating a number of pre and post-test interventions, to help reduce the risks that young drivers face when they start driving independently.
This research assesses the merits of safer driving measures for new and novice drivers, including guardian agreements, as part of the Department’s £2 million Driver 2020 research project. This work aims to make young drivers safer, more confident and more skillful in their first year of driving through non-legislative, technical or educational measures. The project will complete in early 2022, due to being paused for COVID-19, and will inform future thinking on young drivers' policy.
The Department also continues to work closely with our THINK! Team, who run educational campaigns targeting the young driver audience, especially males.
The ‘Party Car’ campaign was focused on the role of car occupants as driver distraction. This campaign was viewed over 5 million times across social media and made 15 million impressions via Spotify and Kiss FM.
As a result of seeing the campaign, 67% of young males claimed they would be more likely to tell a friend not to distract them while driving, and 63% claimed they would be less likely to distract the driver.
The THINK! team also ran a campaign directly targeting new drivers, called “The Road Whisperer” campaign. As 1 in 5 drivers crash within the first year after their test, this campaign is aimed at young drivers who feel vulnerable on the road and may take unnecessary risks to overcompensate for their inexperience. This campaign was viewed across social media by an estimated 13.8 million young people.
Other actions that the Department are working on as part of our commitment to improving young driver safety include:
• An evaluation of the THINK! campaigns on influencing attitudes of young drivers.
• Working closely with THINK! on providing targeted safety communication materials to new drivers and their families.
• Ensuring that practical driving test routes allow assessment of the candidate’s abilities to drive safely and responsibly in a range of road and traffic situations.
• Reviewing DVSA’s national standards to ensure the continue to reflect current evidence of what is required of safer and responsible drivers and riders.
• Working with DVSA to improve consumer awareness and participation by increasing the number of road safety initiatives, education and training interventions it recognises.
• Continuing to keep the driving test up to date with technological changes.
Department for Transport
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