Tag Archives: young drivers

News About the Under 17 Car Club

eloise_IAM_U17clubHaving suggested many times before that the best way to help young drivers become safer drivers is to give them more practice and experience before letting them loose on our busy roads, we are delighted to see a new alliance between The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Under 17 Car Club (U17CC).

This good news partnership makes the Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust an IAM approved training organisation.

The U17CC celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. It is dedicated to ensuring young people get the best grounding in driving skills before they reach their 17th birthday.

Its members meet most Sundays at a variety of locations around the UK including Bovington Camp, Dorset; Castle Combe circuit; Caerwent in Monmouthshire; Devon Drivers’ Centre in Clyst-St-Mary; Long Marston Airfield, Warwickshire; Moreton-in-March, Worcestershire and Throckmorton Airfield, Warwickshire, where they learn to drive in a safe off-road environment from the age of 11.

Paul Silverwood, president of the Under 17 Car Club, said: “This is a remarkable opportunity for the leading young driver charity to work alongside the leading charity for experienced advanced motorists.”

Shaun Cronin, IAM regional quality manager, said: “For a young person, getting behind the wheel years before they can legally take to the road is a one-off opportunity. But this is about having fun too – members get the opportunity to spend their Sundays driving a wide variety of cars, lorries and buses – and even learning advanced skills on a race track.

“By working together, the Under 17 Car Club can prevent a lot of crashes and, hopefully, we can save young lives.”

Road accidents remain the biggest killer of young people in the UK. In 2013 there were 191 people under 24 killed and 20,003 injured as drivers and riders of cars and motorbike

In the past five years (2009-13) there were 1,037 people under 24 killed and 120,958 injured on UK roads as drivers and riders.


The photo is of 17-year-old Eloise Peabody-Rolfe from the Under 17 Car Club who is also the IAM’s Young Driver Ambassador.


Gender driving licence disqualifications

Copyright Peter Cheney, The Globe and Mail 2012
Copyright Peter Cheney, The Globe and Mail 2012
I could never understand why our insurance industry rolled over and let the EU tell them they could charge women the same as men for car insurance. When the gender risk remains the same, by and large.

And you must forgive me for being cynical when I read that motor insurance has become profitable during 2013 after many lean years.

The Gender Directive arrived in December 2012 so UK insurers had a good 12 months of potentially charging female drivers more.

Coincidence or contributory factor I wonder?

Probably too soon to tell, she says trying to be charitable.

However new figures obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) confirm that male drivers between the ages of 20 and 30 were the most common group to be disqualified from driving in the 12 months between July 2013 and June 2014. And you have to drive badly to be disqualified of course as in collecting too many points on your licence, driving too fast and testing positive for drugs or alcohol.

These figures were supplied by the DVLA following a Freedom of Information request and reveal the age and gender groups most commonly carrying out a driving offence that then led to a subsequent driving ban.

As of 21 June 2014…
+ 92k UK drivers were disqualified between July 2013 and June 2014.
+ Just over a third of these (c31k) were men aged between 20 and 30.
+ Fewer than 15 per cent of the overall total were females.

I’m not saying that 15% is an acceptable level but if you factor in the increase in the number of women drivers and the mileage we now do, the statistics would have been even more marked in favour of safer female motorists in the early 90s.

And let’s just set the record straight about older drivers too. While 36k drivers between 20 and 30 were disqualified in the last 12 months only 10k were in their fifties and just 4k in their sixties.

So the evidence remains clear that it is the young male drivers that are in need of better preparation for motoring.

Not to be challenged by allegations that young men are better drivers than young women because they pass their test in fewer lessons. Whilst this is undoubtedly true, hasn’t anyone else worked out that the fact that young women are generally less confident learner drivers, take longer to pass their test and need more lessons to do so makes them safer drivers? My conclusion is that the testosterone driven male confidence factor allows too many young drivers to pass their test before they are sufficiently road savvy.

This is a gender issue and the sooner we realise that young male and female motorists are equal BUT VERY DIFFERENT, and should be treated differently, the better.

Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “These statistics strongly reflect the research we have already carried out in this area – that young males are very much the at risk group when it comes to driving safety.”

Hear, hear IAM.

Road rage highlighted by #redmist hashtag

youngfoxydriverResearch findings recently published by black box motor insurer Ingenie confirm that as many as three out of four young drivers have been a victim of road rage during their early driving years.

On average, young drivers report having been on the receiving end of abuse on the road around four times (3.64) since they passed their test.

As we all know, bad behaviour can infect others which may explain why 65% of young drivers interviewed didn’t consider themselves road ragers yet 84% admitted to carrying out one or more acts of road rage since they passed their test.

Road rage gets a #redmist hashtag to raise awareness here

This is why Ingenie’s #Redmist hashtag campaign (colourfully named to describe the anger that descends upon motorists who let their emotions rule their driving) interested us and why we asked them to provide this information for a Guest Blog that should interest our young readers and their parents.

Apparently ‘other drivers’ behaviour’ is the most common road rage trigger (66%) followed by ‘running late’ (39%), ‘congestion’ (35%) and ‘roadworks’ (32%). The research also reminds us how important our emotional state is, identifying other triggers such as: ‘A bad day at work’ (27%), ‘Lack of sleep’ (21%), ‘An argument with a partner, friend or colleague’ (20%) and ‘Illness’ (9%). More than one in 20 (7%) admit that their financial situation can make them increasingly susceptible to the #redmist.

Knowing that everyone has their prejudices on our roads (often women drivers let’s face it) I wasn’t at all surprised to see that young drivers claim that older drivers were their #redmist bugbear. Let’s not bring statistics or logic into any such debate here – if they think that, that’s their truth as they see it. Plus ca change!

If this subject interests you or you would like to encourage a young driver here why not join in this quiz here to check out what sort of driver you/they are?. If you score highly and/or learn from this, chances are you can save money having a black box fitted to your car (terms apply etc).

Here are Ingenie’s #Redmist road rage research findings…


PS: Any young drivers (female or male) keen to understand and improve their driving behaviour will benefit from attending one of the motoring events we attend and which are organised by AVF Communications. These include memorable sessions about road rage (how to recognise it and what to do), as well as DIY car maintenance and self defence. All great skills to have in any drivers’ portfolio.

Could the high cost of car insurance be putting young females at risk?

taxihailingA survey carried out by price comparison website Gocompare.com has revealed that thousands of young women are putting themselves at risk by accepting lifts with strangers or with drivers who’ve either had an alcoholic drink or used recreational drugs.

Around one in 17 women (6%) aged between 17 and 25 who are non-drivers have on at least one occasion accepted a lift home with a virtual stranger.

More than one in seven (13%) have been a passenger in a car driven by someone who’d had an alcoholic drink or taken recreational drugs.

However, nearly one in five young women who don’t drive (18%) has also experienced violence, aggression or harassment directed at them or another passenger whilst using public transport.

Over a third (36%) of young women non-drivers responding to the survey said that driving and car ownership was too expensive and 38% said they could not afford driving lessons. A quarter (26%) said that they felt they had less freedom than their friends with cars.

Gocompare.com’s customer insight manager, Claire Peate, said: “There’s no doubt that learning to drive and getting your first car can be an expensive business, but it seems that some young women are taking risks with their own safety because they can’t get around as easily as their friends. Parents will be alarmed to learn that thousands of young women and teenagers are accepting lifts from people they hardly know, and are also being driven around by people who are possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“For many the alternative is to use public transport, but there again our research shows that young women have experienced aggression or harassment directed towards them or another passenger whilst using buses and trains.

“Young women, and indeed anyone, on a night out should follow some basic rules for staying safe. If you’re with a group of friends, stay together as much as possible until you’re home. Do not accept lifts from strangers and if you are offered the chance of a lift home by a friend make sure they’re in a fit state to be driving. Keep some money aside for an emergency taxi home and never be too proud to ring a parent or friend and ask them to pick you up. They’re sure to be much happier you called on them than for you to take a risk with a lift from a stranger or a drunk driver.”

From FOXY’s point of view the exorbitant cost of car insurance has a lot to do with this, thanks mainly to the 2012 Gender (Mis)Directive.

The consequences of the high cost of motoring

public transport policeKnowing that the number of young male drivers has fallen as a result of soaring insurance rates this is now our turn to be affected, regardless of statistical risk and gender safety concerns. Young females who can’t afford to drive are damned to potential harassment or worse when using public transport and occasionally taxis, are damned to isolation if they live in rural areas and damned if they then rely on richer friends to drive them home, who might take risks.

What is a young girl to do to have a social life? How is she to keep her job options open if she can’t afford to drive to move on in her career?

The insurance industry needs to think this one through again because cherry-picking rich young drivers isn’t the right way forward nor is it any guarantee of safer drivers or lesser risk. Quite the contrary it seems.


Radical moves needed to save young motoring lives

haveaheartThis is happening all over the UK. Under 21s are being killed in cars they have been given a licence to drive but still don’t know how to handle.

Over the last couple of weeks, my local paper has reported that three youngsters under 20 have been killed on Horsham roads.

All needlessly – what a waste.

Just imagine the grief for families across the country. Just imagine the guilt for some in imagining they may have funded their child’s driving too soon, not realising the risks.

Youth versus mobility

I mention this because I know the statistics and this affected my actions recently.

After taking his theory test and a course of lessons, my 20 year old son decided he couldn’t afford to buy a car and insure it… as well as move to a flat in Brighton. So he postponed taking his test.

Looking back, I could surely have found some funds to contribute to his motoring plans but I didn’t. Quite the opposite actually, I heaved a huge but inward sigh of relief because I know the accident statistics relating to young drivers.

Even so, I realise that he and other non driving young adults could just as well be travelling in a young friend’s car and be killed as a result of their driving inexperience…

Can telematics make a difference?

mam_daughterTelematics ie having a black insurance-related box fitted in a car to measure/reward a drivers ability is probably making a difference to these statistics. Perhaps it has saved lives already if the young lady I met at a recent networking evening was typical.

‘I’m not going to be hurried by a car threatening me to speed up from behind’ she explained. ‘I know how my black box wants me to drive and I want to save money on my insurance premium… so I’m not going to hurry up, whatever.’

I suspect she was going to be a good ie safe driver whatever, whereas sadly a black box isn’t always going to stop young drivers from flooring the accelerator pedal when the testosterone kicks in.

FOXY legislation I’d like to see…

The fact is that nothing teaches young drivers how to drive safely better than experience itself when it comes to their understanding the dynamics of speeding and the affect of this on their car’s engine. And just for the record, this is why I don’t advocate raising the driving age from 17 here.

But age aside, if I were in charge, I would introduce FOXY legislation tomorrow and make it compulsory that, during the first two years after passing their test, all novice drivers…

1 …commit in writing to not drink and drive.

2 …have a black box fitted to their car.

3 …who drive badly afterwards are referred by their insurance company to the DSA who then decide whether to insist on the equivalent of PassPlus lessons or withhold their licence for 12 months before taking a second driving test (all at the driver’s expense).

4 …display a highly visible N plate on any car they drive. I’d add a phone line where motorists report dangerous N plate drivers they see; resulting in a similar formula as 2…

5 …have a speed limiter fitted, restricting their car to a maximum of 50 mph at all times.

6 …are forbidden to carry passengers other than older (hopefully responsible) adults/parents.

As I see it, we can EITHER do nothing and count young deaths OR we can do something radical in an attempt to save lives.

I’d prefer to do something, and at least I can make sure that Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (including Road Safety) Stephen Hammond MP reads this blog via his Twitter address @SHammondMP.

But I’d like to know what you think. Are you with me or am I wrong in your eyes? By all means tell me what you think via my Twitter address @FOXYtweets. Or by emailing me on info@foxyladydrivers.com.

Just don’t tell me these FOXY measures would infringe young drivers’ human rights etc etc. That attitude makes me SO cross because it sounds as if grief-stricken parents don’t have human rights as well – to see their children thrive and live longer happy lives.