Friday, March 20, 2009

Road Accidents and Young Drivers

1. More than 3,500 people are killed in the 250,000 road accidents that happen every year in the UK. Fear of road accidents has led to a decline in the number of children being allowed out and about unaccompanied - a reduction in play space is also a problem, particularly as some play areas are divided from houses by busy main roads.

2. Research shows that the majority of road accidents that take place on UK roads everyday are almost always attributed to driver error. (Key reports include the Road Casualties Great Britain 2006-Analysis of Contributory Factors report, and research conducted by the RAC Foundation). According to Department of Health statistics, accidents are the most common cause of death amongst young people in Britain today. Road traffic accidents account for around three quarters of all accidental deaths between the ages of 15 and 24 and for every death in a road accident between two and three people are permanently disabled.

3. Young drivers (17-21) make up only 7% of all licence holders yet are involved in up to 1 in 7 accidents involving injury. Accident liability of new drivers drops sharply after the first 12 months. After passing their test and continues to fall as more experience is gained. Young people are also seen as a bigger insurance risk and this is reflected in the higher premiums they have to pay for car or motorbike insurance.

4. Why are the possible reasons for so many young people killed or injured on the roads? Most young people tend to be less experienced drivers and some are inclined to drive fast. An inappropriate speed is the major cause. Statistics suggest that alcohol is also a key factor in accidents, particularly late at night. The highest risk times for to be driving are between 2am and 6am and 2pm and 4pm. (Rodger Charlton and Gary Smith, 2003)

5. The time of day has more of an affect on your driving than the length of your journey. Always remember though, that tiredness can kill. 20% of all serious road accidents are caused by tiredness.

6. Seat belts. It is illegal to travel in a car without wearing a seat belt in both the front and back of the car. Any passenger over 14 years of age can be prosecuted for not complying with the seatbelt law. Drivers are responsible for themselves and passengers under 14 years old.

7. How to reduce accidents

7.1 Police and law enforcement

Police must take proactive steps or measures to stop the harrowing spate of accidents, moves to help reduce road accidents. The deployment of more highway patrolmen is to help enforce road regulations as part of efforts to reduce the spate of road accidents in the country. Motorized police personnel in groups of between four and six would be dispatched on the highways to check the activities of drivers and their vehicles but also talk to and educate the drivers who plied those routes. Police should appeal to drivers to co-operate with the police during the exercise, since the focus of the latter would not be on arresting the drivers only but also ensuring sanity on the roads. The police would hold a meeting with transport organizations and other stakeholders in the transport sector to discuss ways of finding solutions to the recent spate of road accidents. Police also called for the support of members of the public in the campaign against road accidents.

7.2 Innovation

Transport for London (TfL) is hoping to reduce collisions by 10% with the launch of the first digital map of the capital's speed limits. The map can be downloaded from TfL's website and integrated into a satnav or GPS device. Once integrated, it will alert drivers if they exceed the speed limit. TfL says that if all drivers use the map, collisions could be reduced by 10%. Chris Lines, Head of TfL's London Road Safety Unit, said, "This technology will mean drivers know the correct speed limit at all times, which will help them to drive more safely."

7.3 Road accident prevention & campaign

7.3.1 If stopping on a hard shoulder is necessary, leave the vehicle and wait on the embankment for assistance. Stationary vehicles on the hard shoulder are at high risk of being involved in an accident. Use motorway emergency phones to ease detection of your location.
7.3.2 Do not park on pavements. This puts pedestrians at risk by increasing their need to walk on the road and can also damage the pavements, also affecting pedestrian safety.
7.3.3 Broken down vehicles should be moved off the road if possible. Hazard warning lights should be switched on and a high visibility jacket should be worn if available.
7.3.4 Speed: Be aware of your speed when you are driving. Watch your speedometer, know the limits, concentrate and slow down when you are entering villages.
7.3.5 Alcohol: Drink driving campaigns, lowering the drink drive limit, law enforcement and wider police powers to require breath tests including random breath testing may reduce drink driving. The individual should ensure that they stay within the legal alcohol limits or, better still, do not drink at all if they are driving. Hull College has become one of the largest colleges in the country to introduce a nationally-recognised alcohol awareness qualification for students and staff. 2894 students at the College participated in the programme, 98% of them successfully passing the exam.
The fully accredited BIIAB Level 1 Certificate in Alcohol Awareness (CAA) has been developed by the awarding body of BII, the professional body for the licensed retail industry, in order to educate and inform both children and adults about the social, economic and health impacts of alcohol.
The CAA covers key subject areas, including: the nature of alcohol and strengths of different alcoholic drinks; how alcohol affects the body and the dangers of drinking too much. The qualification is aimed at young people aged 13 and upwards with many adults also benefiting from the learning involved.
Hull College Chief Executive and Principal, Dr Elaine McMahon comments,
“This is an impressive achievement for Hull College and the first time we have seen so many students sit one exam of this type and be so successful. We are thrilled with the 98% pass rate. The College has taken a pro-active approach”
7.3.6 Drugs: Medicines that may have side effects that affect ability to drive should be clearly labeled and people should not drive under the influence of elicit drug. Doctors should follow Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidance on medical conditions that can affect driving and advise patients appropriately.
7.3.7 Do not use hands-free or hand-held mobile phones whilst driving.

8. Note: A two month crackdown on speeding motorists in Hull has been launched by Humberside Police. Casualty reduction officers from the force have introduced the number of deaths on the roads caused by people driving at high speeds. As part of the campaign, which started on March 1, officers have targeted known speeding hotspots and three user groups–young divers aged 17 to 25, motorcyclists and drivers travelling to and from work. The survey showed not only killed or seriously injured young people but also a large number involved motorcyclists and people who drive for a living.
According to PC Keith Ward, throughout March and April road traffic officers will be carrying out more speed checks in speeding hotspots and issuing three-point penalties and fines to anyone not found adhering to the speed limit. Please, stick to limit.
In a bid to enforce speed limits, Humberside Police is also hoping to educate motorists about the results of irresponsible driving and has launched a series of leaflets to tackle the problem. These leaflets are available at police stations across the city until the campaign ends on Thursday, April 30.

9. Lesson learned to our young Malaysian drivers

The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), has done the research and concluded that three factors caused the accidents – human error, vehicle and road conditions. Some of the suggestions are regular inspection and proper maintenance of vehicles will also help reduce accidents. The authorities should carry out regular maintenance of the roads as stipulated. The enforcement agencies, road maintenance agencies and the road users, especially our young divers, have important roles in the combat against this menace which is becoming the number one national killer.

10. My comments on this issue:-

10.1 Learner drivers have few accidents because they are always under supervision. But, once they have passed their test, and can drive unsupervised, their chances of crashing increase dramatically. Young drivers are much more likely to crash than experienced drivers. Why?

10.1.1 Lack of experience. This is one of the main reasons. As new drivers gain more driving experience their accident rate begins to fall.

10.1.2 Attitude. Young drivers, especially men, tend to be over confident and are more likely to drive in risky ways: too fast, too close to the vehicle in front and dangerous overtaking. Young drivers consistently rate their own performance as above average and are more likely to regard ‘good’ driving as the ability to master the controls of the car/vehicle at higher speeds.
10.1.3 Hazard Perception. Young drivers often have excellent vehicle control skills and fast reactions. But, they are poor at identifying potential hazards and assessing risk, and tend to overestimate their ability to avoid the hazard and accident. It takes new drivers up to two seconds longer to react to hazardous situations than more experienced drivers.

10.1.4 Peer pressure. Young drivers, especially men, who carry friends are more likely to have a crash.

11. Conclusion & Action

11.1 Penalty Point. Not only to new drivers more likely to crash, but they are allowed fewer penalty points before losing their licence. If a driver acquires six or more penalty points within two years of passing their first test, their licence is revoked. They must then obtain a provisional licence, drive as a learner (display an ‘L’ Plate and be supervised). The demerit points of a driver will be accumulated in the Road Transport Department (RTD) database (Sikap System) when the driver is convicted by the court or after paying the fine for a scheduled offence that has been committed. The Kejara system should be imposed strictly, since its enforcement introduced April 1, 1984.

11.2 Driving & Practical Test. Learners must prepare suitable number of hours and plenty of professional training and plenty of practice, will better knowing the road safety, regulations, do better in the test. Learners cannot meet the driving skills may not have a chance to acquire the licence. Why our instructors, operators and testers giving the learners, "pass", easily?

11.3 Driving resource material (according to world standard), syllabus, and moral values. Malaysian losing ground in respecting and loving people. I would also suggest the moral values must be taught in driving schools. Firstly, I would to say, the instructors must be behave..................Sorry, that's why our Malaysian driving licence not recognized in UK. Our RTD must study the content of the driving manual & test according to world's needs and standards.

12. Please drive carefully and remember your beloved one.


1. News-Hull College Delivers Alcohol Awareness Qualification to Over 2,000 Learners

2. Portal Rasmi JPJ Malaysia - Kejara System

3. Rodger Charlton & Gary Smith, How to reduce the toll of road traffic accidents, Journal List, J R Soc Med.,vol. 96(10); Oct 2003 University of Birmingham Medical School, Birmingham, UK

4. The Star Online, Right attitude essential to combat road accidents, Inculcating proper attitude on the roads, Tuesday, January 08, 2008

5.Transport for London

6. West Hull Advertiser, Police crackdown to cut number of road accidents, Speeders, we’ll be watching you, Thursday March, 19, 2009

No comments: