Families call for action on young driver fatal crashes

The families of people killed in crashes involving young drivers in Wales are calling for tougher restrictions on novice motorists.

A survey found that 56% of young passengers in Wales were frightened at times when other young people were driving.

The study for Road Safety Week also found 84% of young people backed some form of licence restrictions.

The charity Brake and QBE Insurance polled 529 Welsh youngsters.

Brake claimed that on average a young person was killed on Welsh roads every 11 days. It said casualty statistics showed that a serious injury happened on average every 27 hours.

In the survey, 56% of young people said they had been endangered by young drivers speeding.

'Graduated licensing'

Brake said young drivers must take greater care and stay within the law, pointing to the fact that they were involved in a disproportionate number of crashes.

It claimed that drivers aged 17 to 24 made up only 12% of UK licence holders yet were involved in accidents resulting in 25% of deaths and serious injuries.

The charity has backed calls for "graduated driver licensing", including a minimum learning to drive period, and restrictions for novice drivers.

Research by Cardiff University published in 2010 found that one in five new drivers crashed within the first six months. The study recommended new laws to stop novice motorists driving at night or carrying young passengers.

The Cardiff research claimed that new restrictions could save more than 200 lives in the UK every year.

Terry Jones's 16-year-old daughter Louise was one of four teenage girls killed in a crash on the Llangynidr moors near Ebbw Vale in 2006.

The 18-year-old driver had only just passed his test and was convicted of careless driving.

Mr Jones told BBC Radio Wales he wanted to see a new and more rigorous driving test system, with an all-round experience of all roads and driving conditions for learners.

"We've got to teach these young people that it's not only their lives that they are putting in danger, but other people - those travelling in the car with them and those in the car coming towards them.

"We have to teach them not only how to drive a car but how to look after other people as well."

'Shock waves'

The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service will stage a crash reconstruction later for students at Coleg Gwent in Ebbw Vale as part of Road Safety Week.

Neil Brown, the fire service's head of road safety, said they often gave talks to young people, who were statistically more at risk.

"These incidents are renowned for sending horrific shock waves throughout immediate families, close relatives and the local communities," said Mr Brown.

"Some of the incidents that South Wales Firefighters attend are horrific, and the less people who have to suffer the trauma of losing someone in tragic circumstances like these the better," he added.

Julie Russell from Coleg Gwent said they were pleased to be staging the road safety event with the emergency services and Brake.

"Many of our students are at the age where they are learning to drive so we are extremely keen to make sure they understand the potential dangers when driving," said Ms Russell.

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