Comment: Our thoughts today are with the families

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The horrific crash on Old Dalkeith Road which left two young men dead and another fighting for life is first and foremost an appalling tragedy for all the families involved.

Our thoughts today are with them all as they grieve for lives which should never have ended so soon.

Part of the grieving process will involve attempting to find out exactly what happened, and we must be careful not to jump to any conclusions or apportion any blame.

Whatever the cause, however, it is an accident which has added to the terrible toll of young lives lost on Scotland’s roads.

An average of one young person is killed and 17 are seriously injured every week, according to figures from RoadSafety 
Scotland.

And while we do not know the circumstances of this accident, tragedies like the one on Friday night inevitably bring the issue of young drivers sharply into focus again.

Much good work is continuing in schools across the country by the community police officers highlighting the dangers and we hope such work is spared from the raft of budget cuts currently being considered.

But we need to do more.

Many safety measures have been proposed over the years, from 
copying the example of other countries in using ‘P’ plates for new drivers to imposing speed 
restrictions.

A probationary period where young motorists are banned from carrying passengers under 30 has also been suggested in the past, as has the requirement for 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of nighttime practice under supervision before a full licence is granted.

Promised new legislation from Westminster has so far stalled, however.

In an age when teenagers and young adults have access to cars far earlier than they may have done in the past, our laws seem hopelessly outdated.