New data released yesterday (Tuesday, May 16) by the World Health Organization has revealed that, globally, injuries are the biggest killers of teens aged between 10 and 19. This is the case too for high-income countries.
Although the majority of those killed are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, a large proportion will be those who are new to driving.
We’re not surprised. In 2015 young drivers aged 17-24 made up only seven per cent of full UK licence holders, yet were involved in 22 per cent of fatal or serious collisions in which they were the driver.
A driver is most at risk of an accident within the first few months after passing their test, due to their vast inexperience and a tendency towards over-confidence, but these aren’t the only factors at play.
Research has shown that young drivers have poorer visual awareness than a more experienced driver, and display a smaller range of horizontal scanning of the road, look closer to the front of the vehicle, check their mirrors less and focus more on stationary rather than moving objects. This is due to their lack of driving experience and is particularly problematic within their first 12 months of driving.
Distraction is a major issue for young drivers, in particular the mobile phone, but having friends in the car to share in their new-found independence can also hinder their driving ability by taking their attention away from the road. Drink and drug-driving can also pose a problem among younger drivers.
When and where a young driver is on the road can also greatly influence their risk of crashing. For example, night driving on rural roads with passengers can increase the chances of being involved in a collision. New drivers are more likely to be involved in high-speed crashes, crashes caused by losing control of the vehicle, crashes in the dark, and crashes when overtaking and negotiating bends.
RoSPA believes that Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) should be introduced, which would place certain restrictions on new drivers in the first few months of them passing their testIn the meantime, parents and guardians can play a vital role in reducing the risks young drivers face, by having either a formal or informal parent-driver agreement, or agreeing a few basic ground rules.
Insurance policies that use driver telematics can provide cheaper premiums and as they give driver feedback and can alert the young driver, their parents and insurance company of risky driving. Advice is then provided as to how their driving style can be improved..
There’s a host of information on our website to help new drivers, parents and guardians mitigate against the risks: www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/young-drivers/after-the-test/
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager
Posted: 5/17/2017 2:15:55 PM