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5 minute read Car Sharing News

The Biggest Killer of Young Adults? Road Collisions

Young drivers are responsible for more crashes than any other age group, despite being the smallest age group of drivers. What causes this increased risk?

by Eilidh

Every year, the month of August is marked as ‘National Road Victim Month’. This month is used to remember people who have been killed or seriously injured on the road, as well as to raise awareness on road safety. Road collisions are the biggest killer of young adults – accounting for around 15 per cent of all deaths of 15 to 25 year olds. Drivers aged 17 to 19, despite only making up 1.5% of drivers, are involved in 9% of all fatal and serious crashes.

Why are young drivers more at risk?

  • Inexperience: Young drivers won’t have had as much practice on the roads.
  • Risk-taking: Due to brain development and peer pressure, teens and young adults are more likely to take risks. You can read more about this here.
  • Over-confidence: Young drivers often over-estimate their driving ability.

What increases the risk of young drivers?

  • Driving at night: The hours of driving with the greater risk for young drivers are in the evening through to the early hours of the morning. The highest risk times during the week are midnight until 3-4am and until 5-6am on the weekend. Driving at night is dangerous because of reduced visibility and tiredness.
  • Drug & drink driving: Young drivers account for 25% of all drivers killed while over the limit. The AA also estimated that 200 road deaths may be due to drug driving. 
  • Gender: Three quarters of young driver fatalities are men. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are worse drivers, though. It’s about a 50/50 split for slightly injured causalities. So, young female drivers are just as likely to be involved in collisions, but male collisions are often more serious.
  • Driving on rural roads: 82% of young driver fatalities take place on rural roads, with only 14% taking place on urban roads and 5% on motorways. This is probably due to the narrow, bending nature of the roads, paired with higher average speed.

What can be done to lower this risk?

Good Egg Drivers found, through their New Driver programme for sixth form students, that students were unaware of the high number of 17-24 year olds killed or seriously injured on average every month. Increasing awareness of this topic through such programmes helps lower the risk of young drivers through education.

There are talks of introducing graduated driver licensing (GDL) in the UK to improve road safety. GDL is a system that allows new drivers to build up their driving skills and experience gradually.  This would mean restrictions for young/new drivers such as a limit on night time driving, or a period of supervised driving after passing their test. This has already been implemented in several nations across the world. Following the introduction of GDL in New Zealand, car crash injuries have gone down by 23% for 15-19 year olds and 12% for 20-24 year olds.


Passed your test but don’t have a car? Inexperience can increase your chances of being involved in an incident. Borrow a family member’s car from one hour to 30 days with our flexible, on-demand Car Sharing Insurance. Make sure you keep on top of your driving and road safety skills you picked up as a learner driver.

Eilidh

Hi I'm Eilidh 👋 I joined Veygo for a 3 month internship in June 2018 and loved it so much I decided to stay! I've been driving for 4 years and, despite being an awful singer, I am known to belt out performances of my fave songs in my car 👩‍🎤

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