1. Introduction

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

This report presents the findings of a national debate on young driver issues undertaken across Scotland.

The debate has involved young people (defined for this purpose as those aged between 17 and 25), their parents and carers, representatives from the road safety community, the motor insurance industry and other members of the public. It has been undertaken to meet a commitment in Scotland’s Road Safety Framework (Scottish Government, 2009a), to:

"Conduct a public debate on young driver issues including graduated licences and additional training."

It will be used by Transport Scotland and other stakeholders to determine what policy initiatives or practical interventions may be implemented to support a reduction in young driver casualties in Scotland.

The debate builds on qualitative research commissioned by the Scottish Government (ODS Consulting, 2008) which found that young people (aged 16 to 25 years) were open to gaining more driving experience after passing their Driving Standards Agency (DSA) test through participation in Pass Plus or similar, but viewed restrictions on young drivers as discriminatory. However, in response to the consultation document published by the Scottish Government to inform the Road Safety Framework, restrictions for newly qualified drivers were mentioned as a key intervention in some responses (George Street Research, 2008).

1.2 Aims and objectives

The aims and objectives for undertaking the debate were to:

  • identify potential solutions for improving young driver safety, and identify case study examples from Scotland and elsewhere
  • explore issues relating to young drivers, which may determine the effectiveness of potential solutions
  • determine the level of support for potential solutions from young people, parents and guardians, and the road safety community, and identify reasons for various levels of interest, and
  • assess proposals against appropriate criteria and to provide recommendations.

Particular issues to be explored included:

  • what support is there for the introduction of graduated driver licensing in Scotland and what form might this take?
  • Pass Plus is not compulsory. Should it be? What other changes could make it more attractive to young drivers?
  • what (if any) additional driver training or education would young people be encouraged to take (and why)?
  • what would incentivise young drivers to take up further driver training or education – including financial incentives or qualifications valued by employers?
  • are there new approaches to try to get the road safety message across such as, social networking websites and mobile phone downloads? Will they have more impact?
  • what role can parents or carers play to help young drivers?
  • should there be a lower drink drive limit for young and inexperienced drivers (zero tolerance) and if so, why?

1.3 Structure of this report

The remainder of this report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 sets out the context for the debate, including the key facts and figures relating to young driver casualties in Scotland
  • Chapter 3 describes how the debate was conducted (covering semi-structured interviews with representatives from the road safety community in Scotland, focus groups with young people and parents and carers, and an on-line questionnaire survey)
  • Chapter 4 describes the broad intervention types that participants were asked to provide feedback on
  • Chapter 5 presents feedback from the debate and describes the level of support for solutions from young people, parents, carers and others, and the road safety community
  • Chapter 6 presents interventions for improving young driver safety, based on feedback from the debate and other sources including the study brief, Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020, and existing literature, and
  • Chapter 7 discusses the issues surrounding the various intervention types and presents recommendations for actions to improve young driver safety in Scotland. This chapter is informed by a detailed assessment of possible options against criteria relating to ‘evidence of effectiveness’ and ‘deliverability’, presented in Appendix E.

In addition:

  • Appendix A presents case study examples from Scotland and elsewhere
  • Appendix B includes the topic guide for the focus groups
  • Appendix C includes the online survey questionnaire
  • Appendix D presents a summary of responses to the survey, and
  • Appendix E presents a detailed assessment of possible intervention options.