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Young drivers at risk

Posted in: Car Accidents Road Traffic Accidents 

Much has been written about the dangers created by young drivers on the roads, both to themselves and to other road users.

A new piece of research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has highlighted that young drivers can be more likely to succumb to distractions while driving, and do not recognise the risks associated with driving at night or on country roads.

ABI research

The research found that 55% of young drivers are distracted while driving if they are carrying passengers, 45% of them find themselves distracted by the scenery and 44% by the radio.

Around a quarter said they would find it acceptable to speed at night (24%) or on country roads (26%). This is despite the fact that young drivers driving on rural roads are 37% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to young drivers driving in urban areas.

Many young drivers who are not yet experienced behind the wheel find it hard to concentrate when driving, let alone during the bad weather we are experiencing throughout the UK,” commented James Dalton, the ABI’s Head of Motor.

At this time of year the driving distractions and dangers come thick and fast: driving in the dark and in difficult weather conditions such as in heavy rain, snow or ice and often with friends or family in car,” he continued. “That is why the ABI is urging young drivers to be alert and stay safe especially when driving with friends at night. The ABI is leading the campaign for Safe Young Drivers to bring down accident rates on the roads.

Some alarming figures

The dangers associated with young drivers aren’t just a matter of rhetoric, but can be backed up with hard figures. According to the ABI, the single biggest cause of accidental death of young people aged 15-24 is getting in a car and dying in a crash.

Department of Transport figures show that young male drivers under 25 are most likely to fail a breath test after being involved in a crash in which someone was injured.

In addition, the ABI quotes studies from the USA, which show that a young driver is three times more likely to be killed in a crash if carrying three or more passengers.

Campaign for Safe Young Drivers

The Campaign for Safe Young Drivers wants radical change to the driving test system – to make the roads safer for under 25s and everyone else.

As part of this campaign the ABI is calling for:

  • Curfew on night-time driving
  • A one year minimum learning period
  • Limiting the number of passengers allowed in a car with a new young driver
  • Zero tolerance on alcohol

Support for proposals

A separate piece of research by the ABI shows that there is overwhelming public backing for the proposals, with 76% of respondents agreeing that there should be restrictions on young drivers after passing their driving test.

Seventy-one percent supported restricting the number of young passengers that newly qualified young drivers are allowed to carry and 58% supported a restriction on night-time driving (11pm – 4am) for newly qualified young drivers.

Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group,” said James Dalton. “A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers deal better with the dangers of driving.


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