Young drivers – the most dangerous in the UK

Young people are known to be some of the most dangerous drivers in the UK, with their death toll being higher then any other age group. 

Recent statistics show that young drivers are among the most likely to be involved in fatal road traffic accidents.

“The latest statistics show that young people are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers, with the risk increasing when they have a car full of friends,” Road Safety GB claimed in September 2016, “Between 2011 and 2015, almost a third (29%) of road accident injuries in the region related to collisions involving young drivers aged between 17 and 24.”

How many young people are affected

Research suggests more than four teenagers get into car accidents each week. In 2015-16 around 29% of deaths were due to texting and driving.

Drivers the age of 17-24 are at a much higher risk of crashing their cars and are involved in about 9% of fatal crashes.

Data on British drivers show that one in four 18-24 year old’s are more likely to crash their cars within two years of passing their driving tests.

The reasons for these accidents range from over-confidence, poor assessment of possible dangers, risk taking, speeding, drink driving, not wearing seat belts and getting distracted by mobile phones.

Organisations that are helping young people

As incidents occur many organisations, such as Brake, the RAC foundation and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) are introducing schemes to build driver confidence.

Brakes road safety poster on flickr, by, Epping Forest District Council

Greg Marah, a spokesperson from Brake, says: “Brake is calling for the government to introduce a graduated driver licencing (GDL) scheme. This will allow young drivers to develop skills and experience gradually while reducing risk.”

For example, by restricting the number of passengers young people can carry and a night-time curfew. This has proven to work in other countries and it’s predicted it would prevent 400 deaths and serious injuries a year in the UK.”

Some of the charities campaigns include: too young to die, roads to justice, sharpen up, wake up and go 20. All of these promote road safety, especially for young people.

They also have a road safety week every year, this year it will be in November.

Brake logo

The RAC Foundation are a transport policy and research organisation that are big promoters of safety on roads. They accept that young people are particularly at more risk of accidents.

“Young drivers make up 25% of all those drivers killed or seriously injured on the roads annually, but only account for 8% of licence holders,” said Elizabeth Box, Head of Research fro the RAC Foundation.

“Novice young drivers are at particular risk… Studies have found that the first 1,000 miles of driving may be the most important in terms of reducing collision risk among new drivers.”

Box says that “the introduction of a graduated licensing system could make some restrictions, especially on night-time driving, this will be a great success at reducing young driver casualties.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is a non profit organisation that aims to prevent and stop road accidents that may cause harm.

They offer advice, information, resources, dedicated road safety websites, training courses, campaigns and road safety events.

The RoSPA young drivers campaign acknowledge that young drivers are more at risk of fatal accidents, so they called for changes on the Driving Standards Agency’s Learning to Drive system.

Victims affected by accidents

With the number of car accidents increasing, it comes as no surprise that the number of victims affected has increased.

We spoke to Peter Cotham, 53, about his nephew, who would be preferred to be anonymous at this present time. His reckless driving on the motorway in 2013 has affected his life as well as one other passenger in the car.

He said: “There were five passengers in the car at the time and my nephew was driving. Everybody suffered injuries but none as serious as one of the boys.

He spent three weeks in intensive care and at one point a lot of people didn’t think he would make it through.

It has really changed his life as he now has to use a wheelchair and may have to depend on people for help. He had a really good career ahead of him.”

He then went on to speak about the crash affected his nephews life. “It should have made him, more cautious about his driving and when he is licensed to drive again, he should be checking to make sure his wheels are in good order.

He was speeding and it was thought that the tyres overheated, causing on the burst and send the car out of control.

Going to prison should have changed who he is for the better and made him think about how it has affected his life, as well as his and the passengers families.

He has a daughter as well and the past year and a half he will have missed her growing up. He was sentenced to three years and I think he served 18 months.”

Peter also says that his nephew has always been “very sorry” for the pain that the crash has inflicted on everybody involved.

Insurance for young people

A spokesperson from, said: The average cost for a 17-22 year old driver is already at £1241 yearly.”

Jamie Ward, 24, SGS surveyor, said: “My brothers car insurance is very high, as he is 21 years old. He is very annoyed at this as he doesn’t have money left over to spend. My current insurance is done through work as I use a company car, but if I didnt then it would be around £1200.”

Car insurance

We also spoke to a student at Leeds Beckett University who says: “I have been driving for just over a year now and my insurance is about £1100, but I drove with a black box in my car the first year and that made me be a much careful driver, so having the box installed in my car for a year probably brought my insurance down a little.”

The price of car insurance for young people is extremely high compared other age groups and it is going to keep on getting higher.

Constant measures are being taken to improve driver safety.

The department for transport, said: “the Government has taken forward a programme of measures to improve driver safety, strengthen the way people learn to drive and how they are tested.

We have engaged insurers in this process, so that they can have confidence that additional measures will make a real difference that can be rewarded with lower premiums.”



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