Intended for healthcare professionals


Crashes involving young drivers

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 11 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h659
  1. Sarah Jones, consultant in environmental health protection1,
  2. Frank McKenna, emeritus professor2,
  3. Stephen Stradling, emeritus professor3,
  4. Nicola Christie, director4,
  5. Tom Mullarkey, chief executive5,
  6. David Davies, executive director6,
  7. Elizabeth Box, head of research7,
  8. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive8,
  9. James Dalton, head of motor insurance9
  1. 1Public Health Wales, Cardiff CF11 9LJ , UK
  2. 2Department of Psychology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  3. 3Edinburgh Napier University, Altrincham, UK
  4. 4Centre for Transport Studies, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL, London, UK
  5. 5 Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Birmingham, UK
  6. 6 Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (an All-Party Group), London, UK
  7. 7RAC Foundation, London, UK
  8. 8Brake, Huddersfield, UK
  9. 9Association of British Insurers, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Jones sarah.jones27{at}

Still waiting for government action despite their costs in lives and money

A year after our call to the UK government to take urgent action to reduce deaths and injuries associated with young drivers1 there has been no progress. In the two years since the government’s promise of a green paper on young drivers’ safety, it is estimated that we could have avoided almost 9000 people being injured in road crashes involving young drivers, with 866 seriously or fatally injured and at a cost of £400m (€530m; $600m).2

One of the suggested reasons for delay is enthusiasm for motor insurance policies based on telematics or black box technology. This technology could play an important part in reducing young driver crashes, but it is unlikely to be the whole solution; telematics does not assess the presence of passengers, their behaviour, or their alcohol consumption. It will take some years to show the effect of telematics on crashes and casualties. Current users are self selected and may be significantly different from non-users. In the meantime, deaths and injuries are still occurring, and one intervention has repeatedly been shown to be effective—graduated licensing. …

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