Too often we hear tragic stories of another young life being cut short in a car accident, yet any attempts to dramatically reduce the death toll are just not working.
This is according to University of the Sunshine Coast Research Fellow Bridie Scott-Parker, who shared in her article in “The Conversation” recently, who says that now is not the time to place blame but rather to focus on increased education and better systems.
Young male drivers are hardest hit, with male drivers aged 17 -24 making up just 12.7 per cent of all licence holders but accounting for 20.3 per cent of driver fatalities.
Shockingly, P-platers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident, with 45 per cent of all deaths of young people attributed to road accidents.
And, while there has been some reduction in the number of fatal accidents involving young people over the years, the focus needs to be on increased driver training and education for young drivers, as well as looking at the environment and behaviour of young drivers, including:
- What vehicle they drive
- When they drive
- How they drive
- Why they drive
“Systems thinking is a radical approach in young driver road safety,” Ms Scott-Parker said, also commenting that most crashes can be understood as a failure in the system which should actually protect young drivers.
For example, a crash leading to a young person’s death can be related to factors at every level of the system, such as:
- Driving an older vehicle which has fewer crash-avoidance and crash-protection features on poorly maintained roads
- Driving after drinking alcohol
- Driving at night
- Driving when parents are unaware of how they behave on the road now they have their own car and are licensed to drive independently
- Whether there is public transport available
There is a general need for more information about who is out there, what they do, and how we can work together, Ms Scott-Parker said.
But we are signalling a new age in which we can radically improve young driver road safety, she said.