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Written on 16th March 2023 by Kim Milan

THINK! has launched a new road safety campaign to raise awareness of the risks of speeding or driving too fast for the road conditions. The new speeding campaign targets young, male drivers and challenges them to think about the dangers of speeding and asks them, ‘Is pushing it worth it?’ 

What is the THINK! campaign?

THINK! is a road safety awareness campaign which aims to reduce the numbers of deaths and serious injuries on roads in the UK. THINK! is run by the Department for Transport (DfT) and has been the government’s designated road safety campaign since 2000.   In recent years, THINK! has mainly targeted its campaigns towards young, male drivers to change their attitudes towards drink driving, using handheld mobile phones or being distracted by passengers while driving.  The latest campaign aims to change young men’s behaviours and attitudes towards driving too fast, either for the speed limit or the conditions of the road.

Why does the THINK! campaign target young male drivers?

Research by road safety experts into road traffic accidents, such as car crashes and collisions, has found that 17 to 24-year-old young men are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in RTAs on UK roads than drivers aged 25 or over. Speeding accidents on UK roads cause death or injury to 54 young people each week. Speeding also accounts for a one in four or a quarter of all fatal RTA collisions.

Despite these alarming statistics and the devastating, life-changing injuries suffered by those who survive high speed RTAs, car crashes  and collisions, research has found that many drivers consider some form of speeding to be acceptable. The THINK! campaign’s research found that a high proportion of young men share this misguided assumption and underestimate the risks of driving too fast for the road conditions. Only 32% of young men consider driving too fast to be very risky. Only 43% (fewer than half) of young men think it is unacceptable to exceed the speed limit, compared with  68% seeing drink driving as unacceptable and 52% finding it unacceptable to use a handheld mobile phone whilst driving.

Dangerous over-confidence in young male drivers

One of the problems with changing driver attitudes and behaviours arises from drivers’ over-confidence in their own driving skills. Despite their misplaced faith in their own driving ability, young drivers are generally the least experienced drivers on the road, and this lack of experience makes their over-confident attitude even more dangerous. 

Dr Gemma Briggs, Professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology at the Open University, has been quoted as saying:

“Most drivers consider themselves to be ‘better than average’ at driving. This can make drivers feel that while others shouldn’t speed, their own increased skill means they can handle a bit of extra speed, and every journey completed seemingly without incident for a speeding driver confirms to them that their behaviour is acceptable, even if they endanger others.

“Young drivers also have these biases, but have the added problem of a lack of driving experience. They can’t rely on their previous experience to understand driving situations, so adding other elements to this such as additional speed increases the likelihood of young drivers failing to notice hazards and being involved in a collision.”

Research by THINK! shows that young male drivers don’t understand the risks of driving slightly faster than the right speed for the road conditions. The new speeding campaign highlights that exceeding the speed limit is dangerous, but the dangers of speeding also apply to driving only a little above the speed limit or simply too fast for the road conditions.

Speeding - Is pushing it worth it?

Speeding kills but it also devastates families who lose a partner, a parent or child, and causes life-changing injury to those who survive. The speeding driver is often one of the people who tragically and needlessly loses their life in these accidents, but their negligent driving behaviour can cause loss and injury to their passengers, other drivers and even passers-by. It is vitally important that young drivers understand the dangers of speeding and what is at stake, so that they know that ‘pushing it’  can never be worth it.

The THINK! speeding campaign will run across video on demand, digital audio, online video and social media until the end of March.

If you have suffered serious injury or bereavement as a result of someone else’s negligent driving, and would like to find out more about obtaining funded rehabilitation or making a claim, you can talk to one of our experienced solicitors, free and confidentially, by contacting us here.