10% decrease in road accidents

The amount of young drivers killed in road accidents has seen a 10 per cent decrease in the last four years.

This comes according to statistics released by road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

According to the charity’s analysis, the amount of drivers aged 17-24 killed in road accidents has decreased by a tenth since 2012, while the amount of passengers in the same age bracket killed in a car with a young driver has decreased by nearly a quarter.

Safety on the road has generally improved

The IAM claim that the difference in figures could be attributable to a general improvement in safety on our roads including the introduction of mandatory seatbelt reminders in all new European cars, fewer young people passing the test, ongoing campaigns and enforcement as well as the recession and the rising cost of fuel.

Younger drivers are more likely to travel with passengers of a similar age but the risk increases exponentially with every additional passenger. A study from the USA showed that a young driver’s chances of being killed went up 44 per cent with one passenger, 90 per cent with two and a terrifying 300 per cent with three or more.

In 2012, 133 drivers aged 17-24 were killed along with 71 young passengers, while in the previous year 148 drivers were killed with 93 of their young passengers.

However, despite the reduction in road deaths the figures, new drivers are still far more likely to cause their passengers’ death than any other age group and new drivers and their passengers also have far more life changing catastrophic crashes with lifelong injuries than any other age group.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Road safety has been improving for everyone in the UK in recent years and that is reflected in the improved situation for new drivers.  But it’s worrying that our younger people are still at such high risk of causing death and injury to themselves. These figures show an urgent need to improve awareness of the risks for younger drivers and their passengers.”

He continued: “We know that inexperience and overconfidence are significant factors in crashes among the younger age group and addressing this issue must be a top priority.”

How to improve safety as a younger driver

In addition, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has listed a range of tips aimed at improving safety for young drivers.

The tips include warnings against overloading the car with passengers to avoid affecting steering control, distracting the driver and advice to avoid driving on country roads at night where the risk is highest.

Additionally, the IAM recommend that parents should be informed about where young drivers are going and that back-up plans should be made in case a lift is needed.

The right car maintained in good condition can also prove essential to driver safety. Last September, the Euro NCAP crash test safety organisation gave the SEAT Leon ST the top five-star safety rating, in particular for the Leon ST’s passenger and child safety measures. Other cars which scored highly on the Euro NCAP’s rating include the Kia Caren and new Nissan Qashqai.