The RAC Foundation recently released its latest statistics relating to teenagers and car crashes. The statistics paint a stark picture of serious injuries and deaths among the most vulnerable drivers on the road, perhaps hampered by a lack of experience that older drivers have. We suspect there might also be plenty to learn from the numbers that could be applied to working environments involving company drivers.
Statistics from 2013 show 17 to 19-year-old drivers were responsible for 234 serious injuries and deaths to passengers during that year. When you add in injuries that were considered not serious, the total number rises to more than 2,000. Drivers aged 17 to 19 make up only 1.5% of the total, yet they are involved in 12% of car crashes resulting in serious injuries and deaths.
RAC Foundation director Prof Stephen Glaister believes it is time for the government to seriously consider a graduated licencing system that would restrict the freedoms of new licence holders until they gain some practical experience. He said his plan is not about restricting the rights of drivers but, rather, protecting their lives at a time when they are most vulnerable as road users. He makes a compelling case in light of the fact that 20% of young drivers are involved in accidents within the first six months of being licenced.
In one of the more high-profile cases from earlier this year, a 19-year-old tipper truck driver lost control of his vehicle in winter weather, sliding down a hill in Bath and killing four people.
What Can Be Learned
Although the RAC Foundation numbers do not pinpoint the cause of car crashes among young drivers, lack of experience seems to be the common denominator here. Indeed, insurance companies have been charging younger drivers more for decades because of this very thing. A lack of experience tends to increase the risk for new drivers. So what can be learned in the workplace? That experience is crucial.
Possession of a clean and valid driving licence does not make one an excellent driver. This is not to say a lack of experience should automatically disqualify a new driver from obtaining a job involving company vehicles, but it should give hiring managers pause.
As an example, jobs involving large commercial vehicles might be made safer by having younger drivers work with training managers for the first 6 to 12 months of employment. The training manager can ride with the new driver during the probationary period. This is just one suggestion; there are undoubtedly others that could be employed to make younger drivers safer as professionals.
Fleet Licence Check cannot help make your drivers safer, but we can give you access to information that may help you make better decisions. We perform licence checks on UK drivers using a computerised system that accesses the DVLA database and returns the results directly to you. If you are not checking the licences of your drivers regularly, you should be.
1.The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/14/rac-highlights-teenage-driver-death-toll