Friday, March 1, 2024

Rural roads targeted in new safety campaign to prevent deaths and injuries among young drivers

DRIVERS are being urged by road safety experts to think about the dangers of driving too fast for road conditions in a new THINK! campaign which launches today (Monday 6 March 2023).

The new THINK! campaign, “Is pushing it worth it?” is targeted at young male drivers as statistics show male drivers aged 17-24 are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 25 or over. Research findings also show that 60% of all young male car driver serious and fatal collisions were on rural roads.

Safety experts further raise concerns as less than half (43%) of young men consider exceeding the speed limit to be unacceptable, while over two thirds (68%) see drink driving and over half (52%) think using a mobile without handsfree is unacceptable.

Alongside the campaign, the Government continues to consider how to enhance road safety, with a particular focus on rural roads. As part of the Safer Roads Fund, the Government, together with local authorities and safety groups, is continuing to deliver a wide range of improvements across rural roads.

To date, £100m has been provided through the programme to improve the fifty most dangerous roads in England, the majority of which are rural roads. Some of the improvements already made include improved signage, safer pedestrian crossings and better designed junctions.

Speeding accounts for around one in four fatal collisions, but despite this is considered one of the least risky and most acceptable behaviours among drivers, especially young men. The campaign highlights that speed kills and injuries 54 young people every week in the UK.

THINK! research shows young males underestimate the risks of driving just a few miles per hour over the right speed for the road conditions. The campaign seeks to challenge overconfidence among younger drivers and highlight that while excessive speeding is an issue, it is equally important to not slightly go over the speed limit or drive too fast for the road.

The campaign comes as part of a wide range of safety initiatives, including the recent research project ‘Driver2020‘ which considers the different ways to make young drivers safer, more confident and more skilful in their first year of driving.

The campaign marks another milestone for the government’s award-winning THINK! campaign, a dedicated road safety awareness campaign which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.

In the decade that followed the conception of THINK!, road deaths in the UK reduced by 46%. Over the past five years, THINK! has primarily targeted young male drivers who are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on our roads than drivers aged 25 and over.

During this time THINK! campaigns have helped to shift attitudes among this audience towards drink driving, passenger distraction and using a handheld mobile at the wheel.

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