National Road Victim Month highlights the need for grass-roots education to save Britain's young drivers

Article date: 1 August 2008

Today sees the launch of National Road Victim Month, and with statistics1 revealing that road deaths are rising by as much as 60% in some parts of the UK2, BSM is undertaking a series of grass-roots education initiatives to work with youngsters across the UK to highlight the need for safe, responsible driving.

Statistics show that one in five people have an accident within six months of passing their test and a further 70% report near misses in the same period1. Newly qualified drivers and their passengers account for 20% of all car deaths in Britain1, and whilst just one in eight licence holders is under the age of 25, they account for a third of all drivers killed in road collisions1.

To raise awareness of this and to support National Road Victim Month, BSM is undertaking an education drive to encourage young drivers to seize opportunities to learn responsibly before they get on the road.

BSM, the UK's largest driving school, offers a number of initiatives aimed at pre-drivers and newly qualified drivers, educating them about the real-life consequences of irresponsible driving and instilling a sense of responsible learning. It offers two free education programmes which can be used as part of the school curriculum targeting school children aged 14-19, and will proactively link with local schools across the UK to host road safety education sessions; something it has done for many years and will continue to do so for years to come.

Robin Cummins OBE, road safety consultant for BSM, said: "Road safety is a life skill. These statistics show that there is a vast divide between age groups and even regions across the UK. By working with those who are yet to learn to drive at a grass-roots level, we can begin to develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of enjoyable and accident free motoring."

In addition, BSM offers all learners or newly qualified drivers access to the BSM Simulator; a unique off-road interactive tool which focuses on hazard awareness and hazard perception. Based at BSM centres across the UK they offer a valuable opportunity for people to improve their skills in a safe environment.

Every year more than 750,000 people pass their driving test and new, young drivers make a disproportionate contribution towards the number of accidents on Britain's roads. Whilst overall deaths on the UK's roads have decreased, recent analysis of figures by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety have shown a startling disparity nationwide, with several counties in southern England experiencing an increase in the number of fatalities by a fifth over five years.

The regional difference is particularly evident between the North and the South: in Gwent, South Wales, road deaths have increased by 60%, and by 26% in both Wiltshire and Cambridgeshire. However in the north, Merseyside road deaths are significantly lower than the national average and have dropped by 55% from this time last year. In Lancashire the drop has been 36% and 22% in Humberside.

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1 Department for Transport - Road Casualties Great Britain 2006 (published 2007)

2 Analysis of figures by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, based on statistics from 2003-2007

For further information, and interview with Robin Cummins,  or images, please contact:
Paul Childs 
Telephone: 020 3047 4086 
E-mail: paul.childs@edelman.com

Faizel Vohra 
Telephone: 020 3047 4027 
E-mail: faizel.vohra@edelman.com

Notes to editors:
RoadPeace, the UK's national charity dedicated to supporting bereaved and injured road crash victims, established National Road Victim Month in 1998, stressing the importance of public recognition of the scale and impact of road traffic injuries.

About BSM
BSM is the UK's largest driving school, with over 3,000 driving instructors teaching more than 130,000 learners to drive each year. BSM has been teaching people to drive since 1910 and is fully committed to helping people become safer drivers, not just training them to pass their test.

BSM has been using a logbook scheme for many years to ensure that a structured process is followed when learning to drive and also offers advice to those thinking of helping a learner with extra practice. 

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