Charity calls for rural driving lessons

Learner drivers should receive compulsory lessons on rural roads to reduce fatalities, say safety campaigners.

Road safety charity Brake said a graduated licensing system would cut the number of accidents and serious injuries.

It wants compulsory lessons on rural roads for all learner drivers.

Some 120 young drivers lost their lives in crashes In 2015 – he last year for which statistics are available.

    See also: Rural drivers urged to slow down

Of these, 80% occurred on rural roads, with 16% on urban roads and just 4% on motorways.

Brake campaign director Jason Wakeford said: "High speeds, sharp bends, narrow lanes, risky overtaking and the presence of vulnerable road users like cyclists, make rural roads the most dangerous by far.

"The combination of rural roads and novice drivers is lethal - a staggering 80 per cent of all young car driver fatalities occur in rural locations."

Mr Wakeford said Brake was calling for a total overhaul of the learning to drive system to help cut fatalities and injuries.

This should include a graduated licensing system, including a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers.

A zero drink-drive limit, for example, would allow new drivers to build up more skills and experience over a longer period of time, said Mr Wakeford.

"This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries including Australia and New Zealand and could save some 400 lives a year if implemented in the UK.

Brake is also calling for a review of rural speed limits and for 'Voluntary Intelligent Speed Adaptation', which helps drivers keep within the limit, to be fitted as standard to new cars.

Mr Wakeford said: "There is also the need for better and more affordable public transport, so fewer young people see starting driving in their teens as a necessity."

The charity believes road crashes are not accidents.

Instead, it describes them as devastating and preventable events, rather than chance mishaps.

Calling them accidents undermined work to make roads safer, said Mr Wakeford.

It could also cause insult to families whose lives had been torn apart by needless casualties.


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