More than 13 per cent of people who are hurt or killed in a car accident in Lancashire are involved in a crash with drivers aged between 17 and 19, new figures suggest.
That’s despite the fact that 17 to 19-year-olds only make up 1.5 per cent of the total number of licensed drivers.
The RAC Foundation looked at police accident statistics in 49 areas of the UK from 2008 to 2012.
They want a graduated licensing system for new drivers and say it could stop 4,500 people nationwide getting hurt each year.
New drivers would have to have a 12-month probationary period with rules restricting what they could and couldn’t do on the road.
The government put plans to introduce the system on hold last week.
The RAC Foundation found that between 2008 and 2012 there were on average 188,368 people injured in a car accident each year.
It says that 22,391 of those, or one in every eight drivers, were hurt as a result of a crash involving a 17 to 19-year-old driver.
In Lancashire, 13.5 per cent of all casualties were hurt in crashes involving a 17–19 year-old car driver.
Cumbria was the highest in England, with 15.8 per cent, while North Yorkshire scored 14 per cent.
London has the smallest proportion (5.6 per cent), while the highest proportion in Great Britain was the Dyfed Powys area of Wales, at 18.2 per cent.
RAC Foundation spokesman Philip Gomm said: “We want to respect young people’s freedoms we want to keep them safe for the whole of their driving lives, but that possibly involves some limited restrictions when they first pass their test because that’s the riskiest time for any driver.
“We often think that motorways are dangerous roads because of the speeds involved but accidents happen and they’re probably at their most common and severest on the rural roads.”
Linda Sanderson, communications manager for Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, which runs a Wasted Lives campaign aiming to cut the number of accidents among young drivers, said: “We all have a social responsibility to keep our young drivers safe and we all have a part to play in tackling the issue.
“Young driver deaths and serious injuries have become an epidemic of our time.
“Young drivers are more likely to seek the thrill from driving faster and cornering at high speed.”
The work was done by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in a report commissioned by the RAC Foundation.
TRL also made a conservative estimate of what the reduction in casualties would be in each area if a system of graduated driving licensing (GDL) was introduced.
Based on the experience of other countries where GDL is in operation, the report authors concluded that across Britain about 4,500 fewer people would be hurt in an average year.
This includes about 430 people who would otherwise have been killed or seriously injured.
In Lancashire this is estimated as 153 fewer casualties, and 15 fewer deaths or serious injuries.
Among other possible requirements (like a minimum learner period and lower alcohol limit for new drivers), GDL schemes typically place temporary restrictions on newly qualified young drivers in the first few months after they pass their tests.
These restrictions can include a limit on the number of young passengers they can carry and a late night curfew. The aim of GDL is to limit young drivers’ exposure to risk until they have gained experience.
Currently one in five young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.
Novice young drivers are at particular risk because of both their lack of experience (which affects new drivers of all ages to some degree) and the biological and behavioural characteristics of youth.