The Fast and the curious: Saving lives of young drivers

The UK’s young male drivers are dangerously over-confident, according to IAM, who have found that 62% of young men driving for three years or less believe they are more skilful than the average driver.

Unfortunately, the horrifying accident and mortality rates among this group, who are twice as little as female drivers of a similar age to be killed or injured in a car crash, believe this confidence.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) produced ‘The Fast and The Curious’ report, exploring young people’s attitudes to advanced driver training, as part of their ongoing commitment to reducing accidents in this age group.

The most at risk driving group in the UK

Despite making up only 8% of all licence holders, 30% of car occupant fatalities are drivers aged 17-24, or their passengers.

Research shows that these young drivers tend to have accidents in conditions for which they may not have been prepared for by their driving lessons and tests. These include poor weather conditions, night-time and weekend driving and rural roads with speed limits of over 60mph.

What can be done to change this?

The IAM polled 1,007 novice drivers aged 17-30, trying to understand what would motivate them to undertake potentially life-saving advanced driver training.

With over half of respondents saying that they did not feel prepared for driving solo after passing their driving test, it’s not surprising that the most popular proposal was additional training for conditions and experiences that they may not have experienced before. These included driving on motorways, at night and during bad weather.

Another popular choice was training to improve driving skills in cornering, braking and accelerating.

There was markedly less enthusiasm for undertaking training to boost their abilities to anticipate and avoid dangerous situations.

These advanced training courses need to be offered soon after young drivers pass their tests too, as after a year on the road willingness to take one declines significantly.

Vitally, young men were no less likely to consider the training than women, bringing hope that they could really reduce the amount of casualties on Britain’s roads.

What would persuade young people to take up this training?

Hammered with huge insurance premiums, 74.4% of young drivers would take advanced training if it resulted in them having lower premiums. At the moment, there is no consistent link between undertaking these programmes and reduced insurance rates.

Current ideas for improving the safety of young drivers include very restrictive measures such curfews and limits on passenger numbers, which are hardly likely to be popular and may result in disengagement from safety initiatives.

IAM hopes that by giving young drivers this financial incentive, however, they could be engaged rather than marginalised, and lives could be saved.

What do you think? If you’re a driver under 30, would you take additional training if it saved you money in insurance premiums?

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