POLICE have issued a fresh appeal to young drivers to stay safe after a 20-year-old became the second young man from South Yorkshire to lose his life in a collision in the space of a fortnight.
The death of Lewis Shaw, aged 20, from Hillsborough in Sheffield, comes less than two weeks after 22-year-old Ben Moore, of Lundwood, Barnsley, was killed in a car crash.
In both cases, the vehicle hits lampposts and other passengers were also injured.
The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership said today the incidents are the latest in a spate of serious collisions involving 17 to 25-year-olds in recent months.
Last year, 4,859 people were injured in collisions on South Yorkshire roads and 30 lost their lives.
While officers have stressed both incidents are in the early stages of investigation, they are urging motorists - particularly younger drivers and their friends - to slow down and take more care.
Parents are also being asked to encourage their children to drive sensibly.
Chief Insp Stuart Walne, head of roads at South Yorkshire Police, said: “It’s always a devastating blow when road deaths occur. It is the single highest cause of death in young people and I don’t think that is something people realise.
“In young drivers, the message we try to get across is to impress people with how well you drive, not how fast you drive. The number one cause of collisions is speed - though it is too early to say whether that is a factor in these cases,” he stressed.
“It’s not just young drivers but new drivers who have just passed their test. Drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 are more likely to be involved in serious collisions, that has not changed.”
Chief Insp Walne also advised that young drivers should consider schemes such as Pass Plus and advanced driving to help them use roads responsibly.
PC Mick Hedges, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “Starting to drive at a young age is something we all look forward to.
“It’s great getting out and about with our friends, enjoying the freedom and independence that driving brings. But with that new lease of life comes responsibility. What can seem fun and a great laugh one minute can turn into the worst day of your life in a split second.”
Franki Hackett, from road safety charity Brake said: “The loss of young life on our roads is devastating. Crashes are the biggest killer of young people.
“We are calling for the Government to do more to help young, inexperienced drivers to be safer, particularly by implementing a more structured system of learning to drive.
“In the meantime, we are appealing to young people everywhere to make sure they understand the risks, and do everything they can to look out for their mates and themselves.”
The road safety partnership operates a Drive for Life Programme - free two-hour sessions designed to provide information that will enable young drivers to make sensible and safe decisions when out on the roads.
For more information on Drive for Life, call the Safer Roads Partnership on 01709 254 494 or visit Drive for Life at www.drive-for-life.org.