Newly-qualified young motorists should be banned from driving at night, carrying a certain number of passengers and after drinking any amount of alcohol to reduce the number of fatal road crashes, a new report from Public Health Wales has recommended. The child death review, which looked at deaths of people aged 13–17 in motor vehicles between 2006-2010, has called on the Welsh Government to lobby the UK Government for changes to the licensing of young drivers.
The report calls for the introduction of a graduated driving licence which could put limitations on, or ban, newly qualified young drivers from driving at night and drinking alcohol. It could also limit how many passengers can be taken in the car. The report highlighted worrying statistics regarding the number of serious accidents involving multiple casualties and that in more than 20% of the cases involving fatalities the driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit. Driving at night was also an issue with over 2/3 of the accidents studied occurring at night.
The review has also called on the Welsh Government to consider a public awareness campaign to highlight these risks to young people.
The report said: “The Welsh Government should actively pursue the implementation of interventions such as graduated driving licensing to reduce fatalities and casualties of children and young people in vehicles. This may be through working within existing powers, seeking further or additional powers, or lobbying the UK Government for change.”
Philippa Luscombe, head of the specialist injury team at Penningtons said, “the findings of this report fit with our own experience of serious and fatal injuries suffered by children and young adults. Increasingly, alcohol and drug use are becoming a factor and accidents involving multiple occupants in vehicles are also frequent. Many of our clients are young adults with brain and spinal injuries arising from road traffic accidents involving young drivers. Increased regulation may be the only way to reduce these devastating incidents.”
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