Why teen drivers are no longer the unsafest of road usersFeature of the week
Road accidents have become a major safety issue on public highways. In the UK, safety statistics and research have shown that accidents are more likely to happen when a young person, particularly a male driver, is behind the wheel. This is in comparison to older-aged vehicle drivers. The higher probability of young drivers in becoming involved with car crashes has put an increased focus on a number of safety measures, including mock theory tests.
The theory tests aim to guide young applicants of a driver’s licence in their preparation for a national driving examination in the UK. The exam serves as a screening point to identify and measure the road safety and driving capabilities of applicants. Based on 2010 figures, road accidents accounted for a majority of deaths amongst young individuals in the country and across the world.
Other facts about young drivers also suggest that one in four deadly road accidents is caused by a young driver, despite their small representation in the population of driver’s licence holders. Young men are more prone to cause automobile accidents, which are exacerbated when they fall under the 17-20 age bracket. Research claims that young male drivers within this age group are seven times more likely to be involved in car accidents compared to male drivers of other age categories.
There are a number of factors why teenage drivers are more involved in road accidents, including the thrills of taking risks. These risks are considered under a wide set of unsafe activities such as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, over-speeding and deciding not to wear safety belts.
The idea of driving fast is more common in young male drivers, which might explain the higher incident of car crashes caused by them. The occurrence of accidents are generally present at night-time and early mornings. It is during these times that young drivers are believed to be drunk or drugged, according to studies.
Other factors that contribute to vehicular accidents amongst UK teenagers are peer pressure, inexperience and poor risk assessment capabilities. When a teenage driver is accompanied by friends, the chances of breaking traffic rules increase as the driver is more likely to brag in the presence of peers. The lack of driving experience is another concern for teenage drivers. There are vehicular threats that are considered easy to distinguish while on the road, but the inadequate amount of experience amongst young drivers lead them to overlook and most likely ignore these hazards.
In response to the growing concern on teenage driver safety, new driving restrictions have been implemented to reduce the number of youth-related car accidents. Under the new rule, those who want to apply for a driver’s licence will now be eligible when they reach the age of 19. Upon the successful completion of theory and practical examinations, a one-year probationary licence from the age of 18 will be given to young applicants. Department for Transport Minister Robert Goodwill believes the new measure is expected to minimise the risks posed by new holders of driver’s licences.
Photo: Kyle May