ROAD SAFETY PLEA
“We are seeing an increased number of road traffic accidents involving young people,” says Hilary Meredith, senior partner at Hilary Meredith Solicitors in Wilmslow.
“When I was younger, one of my friends was fatally injured in a car crash. He was sat in the back seat and it wasn’t his fault. Collecting our exam results at the end of the summer without him being there was a traumatic experience I will never forget.”
“Road accidents can happen to anyone, not just new drivers. And they do happen everywhere, every day – even to the most careful drivers. The statistics are horrific – road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death and disability in the under 35s.
“However, newly qualified drivers are more likely to have accidents, simply because they are less experienced. One in five new drivers has some sort of crash in their first year of driving and there will be hundreds of seventeen year olds taking their driving test in Wilmslow this year.”
Lee Murphy, Manager of the Cheshire Safer Roads Partnership said:
“Clearly, we here at CSRP welcome any initiative that aims to reduce death and injury on our roads. Evidence does suggest that crash risk is related to the number of passengers within a car, especially with new drivers.”
Hilary issued a series of guidelines for new drivers – starting with the importance of not overloading cars.
“Overloading is one of the main causes of accidents,” says Hilary.
“It is usually not the driver who is the most seriously injured but friends in the back with no seatbelt or airbag who suffer the most.
“It may seem like great fun to see how many friends you can cram in to your car, but overloading affects stopping distance and can cause the car to skid or loss of control.
“It’s fine to give people a lift home if you feel okay and safe about it, but don’t let friends pressure you into packing in five people late at night. Call them a taxi or let them take the bus.”
Andrew Howard, Head of road safety at the AA agrees:
“Young drivers are more tempted to overload their car with friends due to peer pressure mostly. My advice is that however pressured you feel into giving people a lift, don’t. Think of the costs; if you have bought your own car then you’ve already spent enough money without paying extra for repairs and insurance if you crash. Of course, these costs pale in comparison with the much more serious consequence of costing someone their life.”