Road safety charity Brake has called for young drivers to receive compulsory lessons on rural roads in a bid to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
Some 120 young drivers lost their lives in crashes in 2015 – the last year for which statistics are available.
Of these accidents, 80% occurred on rural roads, 16% on urban roads and just 4% on motorways.
Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said high speeds, sharp bends, narrow lanes and risky overtaking made rural roads dangerous.
“The combination of rural roads and novice drivers is lethal – a staggering 80% of all young car driver fatalities occur in rural locations.”
Brake is calling for a total overhaul of the learning to drive system to help cut fatalities and injuries.
It believes a graduated licensing system will allow new drivers to build up more skills and experience over a longer period of time.
This would include a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly qualified drivers – such as a zero drink-drive limit.
“This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries including Australia and New Zealand and could save some 400 lives a year.”