TEENAGE drivers in Wigan are involved in almost 10 per cent of road accidents which result in serious injury or death.
A new survey by RAC Foundation reveals that in Greater Manchester 9.7 per cent of all casualties involved a driver aged 17 to 19.
That figure is well below the national average of 11.9 per cent. But because 17 to 19-year-olds make up only 1.5 per cent of licensed drivers there are now calls for curfews for teenage who have just passed their test and for a Graduated Driving Licencing (GDL) system to be introduced, which imposes temporary restrictions in the first few
A report produced by the RAC to accompany the survey, which covers 2008 to 2012, also predicted how many fewer casualties there would be if GDL was rolled out. In Wigan, the report’s authors estimated there would be a reduction of nine deaths or serious injuries and 141 minor casualties per year, with an insurance saving of £5million, if youngsters were forced to go on the advanced driving
But a Wigan driving instructor believes this won’t work, as young drivers need to curb their enthusiasm for speed.
Pat Caulwell, who has been a qualified instructor for more than 30 years with Gidlow School of Motoring, said: “It is not tougher lessons that young teenage drivers need - it is all about their attitude.
“Once they pass their test and get freedom, young lads are especially are just eager to get on the roads.
“There is only one way to control young drivers and that is to ensure they get small cars with small engines so they can’t go as fast until they get a few years behind them.
“I see young lads and girls who are really good learners and they pass their test first time and then after a few weeks or months, they are up and down the roads doing up to 60mph.”
The RAC Foundation said that currently one in five young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.
Novice young drivers are at particular risk because of both their lack of experience (which affects new drivers of all ages to some degree) and the biological and behavioural characteristics of youth.
Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation director, said: “Young drivers pose a significant and disproportionate risk to themselves and to others and it is in rural areas where the casualty rate is highest.
“The Government has repeatedly delayed announcing its strategy to help reduce young driver accidents but here is yet another piece of evidence which shows graduated licensing can significantly cut death and injury.
“We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable. This is about ensuring their long-term safety and mobility, not curtailing it. “