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. The new campaign, “Is pushing it worth it?” is targeted at young male drivers as statistics show male drivers aged between 17 and 24 are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 25 or over.
Research findings also show that 60 percent of all serious and fatal collisions with young male car drivers were on rural roads.
Safety experts further raise concerns as less than half (43 percent) of young men consider exceeding the speed limit to be unacceptable.
Over two-thirds (68 percent) see drink driving and over half 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, £100million 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.
Road Safety Minister Richard Holden said this was a priority, and announced the need to accelerate efforts to tackle unsafe driving habits.
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He said this would help to create some of the safest roads in the world.
Mr Holden MP added: “We’re highlighting the dangers of relaxed driving attitudes on rural roads so that everyone recognises that pushing the speed limit is just not worth it.”
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 injures 54 young people every week in the UK.
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Dr Gemma Briggs, Professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology at the Open University, said: “Most drivers consider themselves to be ‘better than average’ at driving.
“This can make drivers feel that while others shouldn’t speed, their own increased skill means they can handle a bit of extra speed, and every journey completed seemingly without incident for a speeding driver confirms to them that their behaviour is acceptable, even if they endanger others.
“Young drivers also have these biases, but have the added problem of a lack of driving experience.
“They can’t rely on their previous experience to understand driving situations, so adding other elements to this such as additional speed increases the likelihood of young drivers failing to notice hazards and being involved in a collision.”
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.
RAC road safety spokesperson Simon Williams said: “We know speeding presents a clear and present road safety danger, particularly on country roads where the number of collisions is much greater.
“We also know that far too many young people are injured or killed every year in car accidents, so hopefully this campaign can bring about some much-needed behavioural change among the nation’s least experienced drivers which helps to keep everyone safe on our rural roads.”
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