WHAT is the biggest threat to the safety of today’s teenagers?

I ask this question while all the while I sort of know the answer.

Well, I know the answer according to the AA Charitable Trust.

Back in 2009, people responded to an online poll in The Guardian having been asked that same question about safety.

The answers back then weren’t really surprising: Crime and gang culture 10 per cent; binge drinking and drug misuse 12 per cent; teenage pregnancy and sexual health 5 per cent; exam pressure 9 per cent; lack of jobs 17 per cent; negative stereotyping 27 per cent; lack of things to do and places to hang out 20 per cent.

But according to the AA the biggest threat to our youngsters is...driving.

Apparently, it is seen as a bigger threat than gun and knife crime.

When asked: “What do you think is the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers?” Seventeen per cent of people answered with driving compared to just 11 per cent 10 years ago.

The number of people who saw gun and knife crime as the biggest threat fell from 25 per cent 10 years ago to just 16 per cent today.

Needless to say, this prompted Brake, the road safety charity, into action.

The charity has long campaigned to tackle the issue of young drivers’ safety.

Now it has taken the results of this poll and is calling on the Government to put a new-style driving licence system in place called a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL).

Brake recommends that the new system should include a minimum 12-month provisional learner period followed by an initial driving test.

This would be followed by a probationary period when new drivers can take to the road independently but with restrictions – such as a late-night driving curfew.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “With the perception of the dangers facing young drivers finally catching up to the reality, it is clear that the Government must take decisive action in order to protect young lives.

“There are 25 young drivers killed or seriously injured on our roads every week and yet there is a proven solution which can prevent this – Graduated Driver Licensing.

“Graduated Driver Licensing is proven to work and has public and parliamentary backing. We urge the Government to introduce this safer licensing system as a matter of priority. For far too long, young lives have been ruined and lost on our roads.”

So there you have it, forget drugs, forgets gangs, knives and guns.

The biggest threat to your kids is a second-hand Ford Fiesta.

  • While we’re talking about things automotive, I see that Highways England has announced that drivers could be allowed to travel at increased speed through motorway roadworks depending on what day of the week they are travelling.

Following earlier trials to increase the speed limit through roadworks from 50mph to 55mph or even 60mph, the organisation is going to test if varying speed limits could safely be operated.

Absolute madness.

It’s bad enough having to navigate the 20 miles of narrow lanes and roadworks on the M6 towards Crewe as it is with the current 50mph limit.

Letting drivers go even faster is a recipe for disaster.