MOSCOW – According to a survey jointly produced by Ford Sollers and the Road Safety Russia Centre, newly-licensed drivers are a major cause of road accidents in Russia.
The survey was published as a new programme of Ford Driving Skills For Life young driver training sessions prepares to commence in Russia.
Among the main causes of accidents in Russia are speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road. Distractions while driving, mostly caused by mobile phones, are a contributory factor. Last year, a Ford survey showed that 70 per cent of newly-licensed Russian drivers used mobile phones behind the wheel.
According to the latest survey, conducted earlier this year among the examiners of the State Traffic Police of the Russian Federation in 17 Russian regions, 70.5 per cent of those interviewed said that candidates for driving licenses sometimes attempted to drive into oncoming traffic or in the wrong direction on tram lanes. In addition, 47 per cent of those interviewed commented that newly-licensed drivers sometimes tried to drive through red traffic lights.
Almost a quarter of the surveyed examiners said failure to take appropriate action to prevent an accident was a common mistake. Additionally, 54 per cent said drivers did not indicate when cornering.
The issue of training for young drivers was discussed during a round-table discussion held recently in Russia. The discussion took place in Moscow with the participation of representatives of the State Road Traffic Safety Administration at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Traffic Police, The Ministry of Education and Science, the Road Safety Russia Centre, the University of Mechanical Engineering and Ford. Andrey Leontiev, a well-known Russian journalist and racing driver, moderated the discussion.
Potential changes to the regulations for obtaining a driving licence were listed as a priority. In particular, the introduction of a two-stage licensing system was propposed which would provide drivers with a training driving licence for two years; that would be exchanged for a permanent licence if the driver had not caused a traffic accident.
According to the Ford Sollers research, there has been a reduction in traffic accidents in recent years, including those caused by newly-licensed drivers. In 2014 the number of accidents caused by drivers with under three years driving experience decreased by 7 per cent compared with 2013. The number of fatal accidents involving newly-licensed drivers decreased by 4 per cent and the number of those injured was down by 7 per cent.
Some 9,900 accidents involving newly-licensed drivers were registered in the first seven months of this year, a decrease of 17 per cent; 1,047 people were killed (down 22 per cent) and 13,756 injured (down 17 per cent).
Women were found to be most law-abiding newly-licensed drivers. The proportion of accidents involving such drivers accounted for 26 per cent of the total. Newly-licensed male drivers accounted for the remaining 74 per cent.
Despite the decline in accidents involving newly-licensed drivers in Russia, Ford recognises the need and the importance of investing in training for newly-licensed drivers, as it will have a positive impact for the future.
The Ford Driving Skills for Life programme was successfully launched in Russia in 2014 with training sessions in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. The programme has been expanded for 2015 to cover six cities – Niznhy Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Samara, Rostov-on-Don. The programme starts at the end of this month and continues to the start of November.
Alessio Franco, DSFL programme manager, Ford of Europe, said: “The Ford Driving Skills for Life programme was initiated 13 years ago and since then has been successfully launched in 24 countries globally. In each region we adapt the training programme in accordance with the needs of the young drivers. In Russia we train newly-licensed drivers to react accordingly to the difficult weather conditions. Moreover, the training programme of each country includes exercises clarifying the danger of speeding, drunken driving and distraction factors, such as using a mobile phone behind the wheel.”