For the first blog – we’ve invited a guest blogger – James Evans of First Car Magazine to share his thoughts around the challenges faced by young drivers.
One of the highlights of the road safety calendar is the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards, which for over 25 years has recognised the best achievements and innovation that save lives on the roads; both in Britain and throughout the world. I've been a regular attendee since FirstCar picked up an award in 2008, but what struck me at the 2015 ceremony was the sheer number of resources, technologies, campaigns, products and services that, over the years, have been created to help drive down the number of casualties on our roads.
In the early 2000s there was real lack of quality information for new drivers, which is why I founded FirstCar. Insurance costs were spiralling, advancements in car safety technology hadn't filtered through to the older models we could afford and enforcement didn't include much in the way of education. Less than 15 years later, telematics is driving down the cost of new driver insurance, enforcement is tempered with education through the National Driver Offender Rehabilitation Scheme (NDORS) and cars with ABS, ESC and SIPS are within reach of many new drivers. There is more information than ever for new drivers online, in the printed FirstCar magazines everyone receives with their theory and practical tests - plus great campaigns from THINK! and local authority road safety teams.
There really has never been a better time to be a new or young driver; so why do so many still get it wrong?
My view is that while the public and private sector must continue to drive the kinds of innovations that were recognised at the Prince Michael Awards; parents and new drivers themselves must take more responsibility and actively take advantage of all the great work that is being done in their name.
Parents - putting your child in a cheap old banger because 'they might crash it' - is a false economy. Spend a little more on a car with better technology and it may not crash in the first place New drivers - educate yourselves and take responsibility for the kind of driver you are going to be. Invest in a telematics policy that monitors your driving and provides feedback to help you improve. Take an advanced driving course. Maintain your car properly.
If young drivers and their parents do as much for themselves as others are doing for them, there would be fewer crashes, injuries and death on the roads.
James Evans is the founder of FirstCar Magazine. The idea for Firstcar came to James in 2002 during a discussion with the friends in the six form common room. He realised he and his friends didn’t know where to go for advice, information and access to products and services. Launched in 2004, First Car magazine is now read by over 2 million readers and used by Road Safety officers. Young drivers passing their theory and practical driving test also receive a copy from their accredited test centre. The company has since gone on to publish First Bike and several other titles aimed at helping drivers of all ages. Their focus remains to develop new driver education working closely with schools and in 2015 launching the First Car awards scheme to recognise the work of road safety professionals in seeking to reduce casualties among young drivers.