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Reducing the Risks for Young Drivers

A recent report has called for more action across Europe to reduce the number of young drivers and motorcyclists being injured or killed on the roads.

Over 3,800 young people (aged 18-24) are killed each year on EU roads, making it the biggest single cause of death for this age group. According to the report by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), young people continue to face a unique combination of factors that lead to a higher rate of collisions and deaths.

Risk Factors for Young Drivers

These include biological and social changes between the ages of 15-25, which affect risk perception and lead to an increase in social activity and associated pressure from peers. In addition, a lack of experience on the road means that young people are not as good at anticipating and reacting to hazards. They are also less aware of how best to drive and ride in particular road conditions and situations.

To make matters worse, young people are now exposed to a range of impairments and distractions, linked to increased social activity, greater exposure to alcohol and drugs, the influence of peer-age passengers and the effects of fatigue. In-car distraction from mobile devices is also a problem.

The report also highlights that young people tend to drive smaller and older vehicles, which often have a lower crashworthiness and lack the safety technologies featured in newer models.

UK Figures

In the UK, new analysis by Direct Line has revealed that one in four teenage drivers will crash in the first year after getting their licence. In addition, more than seven teenage drivers are killed or seriously injured on the roads every week. The figures also show that 17 to 19 year-olds make up only 1.5% of UK licence holders but are responsible for 9% of fatal and serious crashes, which highlights the risks faced by novice motorists on our roads.

Report Recommendations

The report makes a number of key recommendations for urgent action including:

  • Better enforcement of speed and drink-drive limits, seat belt wearing and mobile phone use: this particularly benefits young road users;
  • Encouraging more accompanied driving to help young people gain experience;
  • Adopting licensing systems that encourage young people to gain more experience while limiting certain high-risk activities such as driving at night and with passengers;
  • Lowering the alcohol limit for young drivers;
  • A greater focus on safety initiatives for young riders; and
  • Enabling and encouraging young people to use safer cars.

“With thousands of young people’s lives still being tragically cut short every year in Europe, we need policymakers to commit urgently to introducing smart, cost-effective and proven measures that can bring these numbers down,” commented Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the ETSC.

“EU policymakers have an important chance to improve road safety for young people this year with the long-promised update to safety standards for new vehicles,” he added. “It’s time that proven features such as Intelligent Speed Assistance, Automated Emergency Braking and Seat Belt Reminders in all seats are offered as standard, not as optional extras for the lucky few.”

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To find out more about claiming compensation following a road traffic accident, then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

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