Young Driver Focus 2018 roundup
For the fifth year running ingenie has proudly sponsored the Young Driver Focus event held at the Royal Automobile Club in London, Pall Mall. Yep - reeaaaaal fancy.
Run by the team at Road Safety GB and FirstCar, the event last Wednesday brought together a whole spectrum of people, from road safety experts, the emergency services, psychologists and influencers.
The day was packed full of the latest research on young drivers and news in road safety. And because we like to think we know a thing or two about those things, this year, two of our ingenie family took to the stage to speak about the cool things we're doing back at the office.
There was so much great stuff talked about but here's a roundup of just some of the key things we'll be taking from the day.
Graduated Driver Licensing
Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport spoke passionately about the number of young driver deaths and casualties we see on UK roads. He explained how recent years have seen road deaths plateau with 354 casualties involving a young driver happening in 2016. Jesse broke those numbers down further to highlight that:
31% of those casualties were the young driver themselves
23% were the passengers
46% were other road users
These shocking figures really hit home - showing the implications of careless driving go way further than the driver themselves. And with only 1 out of 5 drivers being a young driver, it doesn't add up that they make up 80% of casualties on UK roads.
So what's the government doing about it?
Graduated Driver Licencing
Also called GDL, Graduated Driver Licencing is currently being researched with the aim of bringing this into practice in the UK. The idea of this scheme is to lengthen the learning to drive period to a minimum of 6 months and put in place some restrictions on things like night-time driving and the amount of passengers in the car.
It may not be popular with young drivers - no one likes to be told they can't do stuff - but if it means young drivers are safer in the long term it's something that is worth considering.
Here's some more info on GDL from our road safety charity partner Brake: www.brake.org.uk
As a progressive industry we are dedicated to the same cause. We continue to target resources and places where we have the best chance of impact and refuse to be complacent over the evolving causes of road deaths and injuries.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport
Driving style and driving skill
Professor Richard Rowe and Dr Damian Poulter presented their findings from a recent study on the behaviour of new drivers and how their attitudes change after passing the test.
They highlighted how driving style (the way you choose to drive) and driving skill (car control and reading the road) are two different areas that are BOTH linked to crashes.
The findings showed that the more experience drivers gained, the faster they drove and the more risks they took. The 'thrill' of driving became less common however, with drivers reporting they felt less excited - with the feeling of 'I can drive now!' dissipating into 'I HAVE to drive now.'
Worryingly, they also found that driving skills like car control, hazard perception and situational awareness are not being fully developed until way after the driving test.
All the drivers we researched reported driving faster with gained experience and felt there were still key skills they needed to work on. We cannot afford to ignore evidence-based solutions.
Professor Richard Rowe
University of Sheffield
How the new driving test changes went down
The driving test faced some pretty big changes in December last year and Lynne Barrie, Chairman of the ADI National Joint Council told us how that's been going so far for instructors and students.
As with any change, there's been mixed reviews, uncertainty and a LOT of questions. But one area of the test that's caused the most concern is the introduction of the sat nav. While most agree this is a fundamental skill for today's driver, some feel it's dangerous to no longer be focusing purely on road signs and reading the road.
Another change that's had mixed feedback is the new bay parking manoeuvre - something I'd wish I'd been taught when I was learning to drive! Some members of the public have reportedly complained to their supermarkets requesting that learners are banned from using the bays on the test or during lessons as it inconveniences shoppers.
Some smaller shops have even gone to the extent of putting parking restriction signs out the front as manoeuvres like pulling up on the right-hand side are 'annoying' other drivers.
Interestingly, there's been 2,170 fails reported in the last 3 months due to the new in-car vehicle checks or 'show me' questions, where a driver is asked to demonstrate how to use their windscreen wipers or demister for example. Clearly this is an area that needs more attention, especially with distracted driving being the main cause of crashes.
Generally, the test changes have been a success and described as a "well-needed breath of fresh air." But it does seem to be bringing with it some challenges. We'll look forward to seeing the impact it's had on crashes later on this year.
The BIG debate into young driver training
Professor Frank McKenna from the University of Glasgow and award-winning motoring journalist and all round road safety celeb, Quentin Willson had an interesting debate on the impact of under-17 driver training.
Although much younger than the drivers ingenie insure, the debate got us thinking. One argument presented that younger minds are much more able to absorb safety messages and are less likely to have peer pressure or financial worry about learning to drive at this stage.
The other side argued that there is no research at all to support any benefit of teaching children to drive and if anything - it actually increases crashes as a result of boosted confidence.
One thing that was agreed on however, was that the learning to drive process needs to be extended. Driving is a life skill and parents should be aware of the driving example they set their children every time they're in the car.
It was even suggested that driving should be taught in school at GCSE level. I know I'd have MUCH rather done some driving practice on a Friday afternoon than double maths.
What ingenie's DBU had to say
The last (but by no means least) of 17 speakers to take the mic was the lovely Jo from our Driver Behaviour Team. A few of you may have had a chat with Jo during your time with ingenie and hopefully not needed to have too many chats after that!
Jo explained to the audience how ingenie's driving feedback system works and what happens when some of our drivers need that extra bit of help. She went on to explain how by chatting to our drivers we can address any bad driving habits and give more data from their black box on where and when they might be going wrong.
With impressively high improvement rates for speeding and harsh braking it was a positive way to round off the talks.
Final words from ingenie's CEO
ingenie's CEO Selim Cavanagh closed the event this year and thanked all of the speakers for the time and dedication they put into our shared goal: reducing young driver crashes and making our roads safer for all.
Selim commented on how together we must keep knocking on the governments door, to challenge things like Insurance Premium Tax for young drivers and push forward schemes like GDL to make sure we're doing all we can to prepare new drivers for real world driving.
While the link with speeding and crashes remains our concern, it's not enough to focus solely on conversations about speed. Poor driving behaviour can be linked to harsh braking, sharp cornering, general complacency and the big one: distraction. Ignoring the facts is no longer an option.
CEO at ingenie
By Katey Gregory
Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.