Caution urged for young drivers after surge in road deaths

Young drivers across Northern Ireland are being urged to take extra care in the run-up to Road Safety Week as latest figures reveal that a total of 20 young people have lost their lives on our roads since the start of the year.
Young drivers across Northern Ireland are being urged to take extra care in the run-up to Road Safety Week as latest figures reveal that a total of 20 young people have lost their lives on our roads since the start of the year.

Young drivers across mid-Antrim and the surrounding area are being urged to take extra care in the run-up to Road Safety Week as the latest figures reveal that a total of 20 young people have lost their lives on our roads since the start of the year.

Official PSNI figures show that as the overall number of deaths increased by 39% to 68 as of November 7 this year, the number of young people aged between 16 and 24 has jumped by almost twice that rate at 67%.

“Despite progress in the number of deaths reported on the roads in recent years, young drivers continue to remain most at risk and we urgently need to act to address the problem,” says Tony McKeown, Director at New Driver NI.

Working with the private, public and voluntary sectors, New Driver NI is an organisation set up to increase the amount of advice, information and assistance available to those aged between 16 and 24 so that they are better equipped to be safer on the roads. New Driver NI has distributed over 40,000 magazines to schools across Northern Ireland so far this year.

“The statistics about collisions involving young drivers are worrying for parents and the stories behind the figures are heartbreaking. Road Safety Week represents an important opportunity to highlight the dangers and risks involved with driving to our younger generation, who, along with older people, cyclists, motor cyclists and pedestrians, are at greater risk of dying or being injured on our roads,” said Tony.

He added: “It is a shocking, disturbing fact that road collisions continue to cause so many deaths among young people. During Road Safety Week, let’s all take the opportunity to review our behaviour on the roads and consider what we can do to make our roads safer.

“There are lots of road safety activities taking place throughout the country during Road Safety Week, so please get involved, and play your part in saving lives on our roads.”

As part of Road Safety Week, the New Driver NI team is taking to the road to highlight the dangers for young drivers and to promote best practice at a number of schools across Northern Ireland.

New Driver NI’s top safe driving tips are:

• Drive at the appropriate speed for the road and driving conditions

• Avoid distractions – and never use a hand held mobile

• Always be alert to other road users, pedestrians and potential hazards

• Always wear a seat belt

• Avoid alcohol – take the bus, taxi or appoint a designated driver.