Although young drivers only make up a small percentage of drivers on our roads, they are statistically far more likely to be involved in an accident than any other driver. Statistics have shown that young drivers are involved in 12% of serious or fatal accidents, despite only making up 1.5% of road users.
Drivers aged 16-19 are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers aged 40-49 and 1 in 4 18-21 year olds are involved in an accident within two years of passing their test.
But why is this? What risk factors are there for young drivers?
Young drivers often have very little experience on our roads and their reactions to risk can be less compared to people who have been driving for a longer period of time. Hazards that are not immediately obvious can cause problems for inexperienced drivers. They may not notice them or notice them too late to adequately react. Young drivers have a lower attention span and are not able to fully judge the appropriate way to react in certain circumstances.
Over-confidence can also play a huge part in accidents involving young drivers. Often, young drivers will think they can adequately drive because they have mastered the practical skills of driving, but they have not fully developed the skills they need to address hazards and react properly. This means they are more likely to take risks and drive unsafely.
Another huge problem with young drivers is risk taking. Young drivers are much more likely to take serious risks including; speeding, overtaking in dangerous situations, drug and drink driving, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone whilst driving.
Risky behaviours taken by young drivers
Speeding – research into accidents involving young drivers has shown that speed is a contributory factor in many accidents. In the USA, a third of fatal accidents involving young drivers were related to speed.
Overtaking in risky situations – due to over-confidence and not fully understanding risks and hazards, young drivers are more likely to overtake in risky situations. They may not be able to anticipate the speed of approaching vehicles, or take greater risks on blind bends.
Drug and drink driving – compared to older drivers, young drivers are twice as likely to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol when involved in an accident. Rates of both drug and drink driving are highest in drivers in their 20s.
Lack of use of seatbelts – peer pressure can have a huge impact on the use of seatbelts by young people. Young drivers are less likely to use a seatbelt when they have friends in the car, and are overall less likely to wear a seatbelt when driving.
Using mobile phones – research by Brake (the road safety charity) has found that young drivers are more likely to use their mobile phone whilst behind the wheel. It was reported that 19% of young drivers admitted to texting whilst they were driving at least once a month.
Although passing your driving test can be a liberating experience, young drivers need to understand the consequences of road accidents and what can happen when things go wrong. There have been several suggestions put forward to try to address the problem of young drivers, including graduated driving licenses, monitoring devices (such as black box technology) and better access to public transport as an alternative to learning to drive at a young age.
Unfortunately, as the statistics show, many young people every year are involved in road traffic accidents. If you, or a loved one, have sustained injury in a road accident that wasn’t your fault you may be able to claim road traffic accident compensation.
At Freeclaim Solicitors, we have over 30 years’ experience dealing with road traffic accident claims. Our dedicated team could help you, not only getting you access to the compensation you deserve, but also helping to set up medical assessment and treatment to help you on to the road to recovery.
Call us FREE today on 0800 612 7340, or fill in our online enquiry form and one of our specialist road accident team will call you back.
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