RoadSafe launches RoadSafe for Parents

Thursday 3 February 2011

RoadSafe’s new campaign – RoadSafe for Parents – reminds mums and dads of their unique ability to keep young drivers safe.

The campaign has the backing of celebrities including Phillip Schofield and Fearne Cotton. All agree that getting your driving licence is one of the most exciting but risky experiences of young adulthood.

In 2009, 45,701 drivers aged 17-24 were involved in accidents reported to the police. More than half were casualties, and of those 564 died. That is more than ten every week.

Passing the driving test does not guarantee safety. The test measures a driver’s ability to handle the car and read the road. It cannot guarantee the same level of experience and risk awareness that helps more established drivers avoid accidents.

RoadSafe director Adrian Walsh says: “Crashes happen in seconds. There is no foolproof way of stopping young people getting carried away in the heat of the moment, but we parents do have an opportunity to influence and encourage our children to make the right decisions, particularly if we start some years before they reach driving age. We should do all we can to help them enjoy driving and stay safe.”

So what can parents do?

There is increasing evidence that social factors have an impact on young drivers, and parental involvement is significant. Poppy Husband, Evidence Base Researcher, Devon County Council, says:

“Young drivers tend to develop their driving attitudes and behaviour from their parents. Research shows, if parents take risks it is likely that their children will too. By monitoring their own driving, parents can play a key role in reducing the number of crashes involving young people.”

This is good news, as it means parents can take positive action to help shape their children’s driving.

RoadSafe offers these tips:

  1. Set a good example. Have you fallen into bad habits, driving too close to the car in front or failing to use mirrors or indicators?
  2. Take a course or driving lesson to bring your skills up-to-date. It will put you in a better position to coach your learner, especially if you take them for practice.
  3. Put your young driver in the safest car affordable. It could make all the difference in a crash.
  4. Find an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). They are the only fully qualified driving instructors in the UK.
  5. Think of simple solutions to problems. For example, offer to pick your child up or pay for a taxi, any time of day or night, no questions asked at the time. This gives them the option of not driving or getting a lift when the driver is drunk, under the influence of drugs, or tired.

Schools and organisations can help too. Software company a2om International (pronounced “atom”) has donated Drive iQ to more than 3000 schools across Great Britain. It is the most comprehensive theory and hazard test preparation available, and it is free. All parents need to do is ask their child’s school to issue it.

Adding support to the campaign, AA President, Edmund King, says: "Most parents under-estimate the risks their teenagers may be taking as drivers or indeed as passengers. The tragic reality is that they are much more likely to be killed or seriously hurt in a car crash than in a knife fight or drug overdose.

“The key to minimising these risks is to foster safer behaviour and attitudes towards driving. Attitudes begin to form long before your first driving lesson and continue to be shaped after you pass your test. Together we must work with young people throughout this journey to sow the seeds of a safe driving future."

Find more information at roadsafeforparents.com

Read the latest young driver road accident statistics from the Department for Transport.

Press contacts

Adrian Walsh
T: 07887 552 708
E: awalsh@roadsafe.com

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