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Birmingham is named England’s most dangerous urban area for young drivers

August 2013: New research has revealed that Birmingham is the most dangerous urban area for young drivers in England.

RED Driving School analysed data from the Department for Transport and found that 19,046 accidents involving young people (aged 17 – 24 years old) occurred on urban roads in 2011 across England.

While there has been some improvement on previous years, with 24,073 accidents in 2009 and 20,827 in 2010, RED believes that more still needs to be done to make roads safer for young drivers.

Hotspots across England ranked by Local Authority include:

[Table to go here]

Between 2005 and 2011, Birmingham had the highest number of urban road accidents in the country, totalling 23,656.

However, Hampshire had the highest number of serious accidents. In 2011 alone, 1,633 accidents occurred of which 552 were classified as ‘serious’ and 34 as ‘fatal’.

Westminster had the lowest number of serious accidents in the same year with only 62 and saw no fatalities.

Commenting on the research, Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, said: “Many young people are seriously hurt or killed on our roads every year and it is self evident that reducing this carnage needs to be a key objective for both Government and the driver training industry.

“Research has shown that the majority of casualties in the UK are on urban roads. In 2010, a total of 98,550 casualties occurred on urban roads, with 6,500 on motorways.*

“Motorway driving is not part of the current learner driver syllabus so the majority of tuition takes place on urban roads. This is where RED as a national driving school can make the most difference. “

The research indicates that the biggest improvement has been made in Manchester, with accidents reduced by 40 per cent between 2005 and 2011, dropping from 2,288 to 1,367.

Commenting on the reduction, Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, said: “This is excellent news for Manchester residents, as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the city every year.

“Over the last few years we have set up dozens of 20mph zones across Manchester and we have now revealed plans to make the city’s roads even safer.  This includes the introduction of Dutch-style cycle paths and bus priority lanes on major routes into the city centre.”

While many local authorities are making attempts to improve road safety, RED believes that more should be done to improve young driver education.

“In 2012 alone 706,914 new drivers entered our roads after passing the UK driving test** and it is the responsibility of the licensing authority to ensure newly qualified drivers are equipped to deal with the hazards on our roads. That said, RED is offering enhanced lesson plans to help learner drivers not just to pass their driving test but also to be safer drivers during that critical newly-qualified phase. We have also launched a road safety campaign called Get Road REDdy aimed at preparing young drivers to face the challenges of the road.,” said Mr McIntosh.

Research has shown that the part of the brain responsible for calculating risk and recognising danger is not fully developed until the age of 25.  Through RED’s Road Brain Trainer, a series of nine e-learning modules, learners can develop the essential cognitive skills needed for safe driving and can increase the chances of passing their test by up to 14 per cent.

Mr McIntosh continued: “As well as improving the quality of tuition for learner drivers, it is also important to encourage safe driving post-test. Young drivers can be rewarded for safe driving through black box technology and we believe that this is an important step towards improving road safety. That is why we formed a partnership with ingenie – a specialist in car insurance for young drivers – to reward safe and responsible drivers with discounted car insurance based on both the training received and their subsequent driving behaviours.”

Karen Delany, Communications Officer at Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, acknowledges the road safety improvements that have been made in Manchester.  However, she also calls for improved driver education: “The behaviour and attitude of drivers is a constant factor in collisions and we welcome the work that RED is doing with young drivers.

“However, all road users should be encouraged to be more responsible for their actions. If this is put into practice, then I am confident the figures will continue to improve.”

For more information about RED Driving School and its Get Road REDdy campaign, visit:

*The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

**Driver and Rider Test and Instructor Statistics, Great Britain, Department for Transport.