Young drivers to be closely monitored
The harsh fact is that new drivers are far more likely to cause death by dangerous driving or be killed in a road traffic accident as compared with experienced drivers. The key statistic is the first 1000 miles of driving. During that period the driver and the other road users are at greater risk.
Monitor New drivers not just Young Drivers
The RAC and other motoring organisations have jointly called for new restrictions upon YOUNG drivers who have recently passed their driving test. This should not be YOUNG drivers but NEW drivers irrespective of age. The main factor in making a good driver is experience not age.
In my opinion, the way forward would be to limit the speed of new drivers’ vehicle for a fixed period. I have defended in a vast number of motoring prosecutions involving serious or fatal accidents involving new drivers. In my experience inappropriate speed is an overwhelming factor. The reality is that new drivers can have an over confidence with regard to their driving ability when just having passed their driving test.
This is not the fault of the new driver. Having been passed fit to drive they are then set off on the road with no further assistance or guidance. Very often, a near miss will bring home just how new they are to the skill of driving well. A period of speed limited use of the road would serve as a safer way of them honing their skills rather than defining what time of day they can drive or who can be sitting in the passenger seat.
Cyclists Safety, making safer roads for cyclists ... and motorists please!
The Highways agency has announced plans to make roads safer for cyclists. This is primarily by making dedicated areas for cyclist road users.
Quite how this will happen on the vast majority of roads is a mystery to me. We are all aware that the level of traffic on most roads is now at an all time high. The Highways Agency concedes that our road system is under massive strain due to the volume of traffic. The roads are close to GRIDLOCK. Making roads narrower to accommodate cyclists will only increase the strain on our road system and possibly increase the number of Dangerous Driving Sentences.
How I would improve Cyclist Safety
Two things need to happen in my humble opinion. I should point out that my opinions are based upon my experience in 25 years of being a Motoring Lawyer, defending motorists involved in fatal road traffic accidents. Sadly, very often involving a cyclist.
1. Firstly, there should be compulsory education for both CYCLISTS and MOTORISTS.
It is clear from my experience both as a driver and as a Traffic Lawyer that cyclists are often seriously unaware of the danger they put themselves in whenever they go on the road. They are usually travelling feet, if not inches away from tonnes of metal. Even travelling slowly a car will cover 15 ft per second. The common complaint of the cyclist is that motorists don’t look out for them. I am afraid that complaint is not born out by the evidence.
The fact is that motorists do LOOK before manoeuvring but do not SEE the cyclist. On a moving bicycle with dark clothing and an ever-changing backdrop, it is a proven fact that the human eye can be fooled into not picking up the rider. The solution to this is COMPULSORY HIGH VISIBILITY clothing for all cyclist road users. Evidence firmly establishes that this makes the cyclist infinitely more visible... and SAFE.
2. Secondly as the user of the highway, all cyclists should be required to pass a test to obtain a licence to use the road.
NO licence would mean no road use and this would remove dangerous cyclists from the road.
A fatal accident involving a cyclist or any other road user is a tragedy for all concerned... cyclist, pedestrian and motorist. If these suggestions were implemented, I have no doubt that it would massively reduce death and injury on our roads.