Young drivers less likely to be aware of dangers inside the car

It’s no surprise that young drivers tend to be involved in more than their fair share of road incidents. According to a report compiled by the Parliament of New South Wales, young and primarily male drivers are involved in almost 30 per cent of all fatal crashes and 29 per cent of all motor vehicle crashes – despite making up just 16 per cent of all licence holders. They are not aware of dangers inside the car.

Overall, rates of crash-related injuries or deaths are known to be significantly higher in younger drivers compared to older drivers. Even around the world, traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death for people in the 15-24 age group in OECD countries. They account for 35 per cent of all fatalities (equating to approximately 25,000 people) on an annual basis.

What are the reasons for this crash rate?

This over-representation in crash statistics can be attributed to many things, but research from legal firm Slater & Gordon shows a misunderstanding of the dangers inside the vehicle could be one of the factors at the heart of the issue.

The firm carried out research on 2,000 Australians and found that young people aged 16-24 years of age were less likely to identify factors inside the car as a safety hazard for drivers on their P-plates.

For example, only 25 per cent of young people listed ‘talking on the phone while driving’ as the biggest danger facing P-plate drivers, compared to 40 per cent of drivers of all other ages. In addition to this, fewer younger drivers saw their own speeding (22 per cent versus 29 per cent of other drivers) or distracting passengers (14 per cent versus 17 per cent) as a danger.

“Younger people also tended to underestimate the dangers to P-platers of drug driving (26 per cent, compared to 28 per cent of all Australians) and texting while driving (44 per cent versus 47 per cent),” said Genevieve Henderson, Slater & Gordon motor vehicle accident lawyer.

“These results showed that young people are still grappling with emerging issues like mobile phone use and driving while drugged, and that our relevant road safety campaign messages or even the risks of penalties are yet to sink in.”

The research also showed younger drivers were more likely to associate factors outside their own vehicle as the biggest danger. This included drivers who hoon, other motorists driving dangerously or being a victim of another driver’s road rage.

“While drivers of any age should look carefully at their behavior on the roads, the sense of invincibility assumed by some young drivers, coupled with their limited experience, can be a dangerous mix,” Ms Henderson said.

What can be done?

Statistics such as these underscore the importance of accident prevention tactics as well as ctp insurance, but what can you do to stop these incidents from happening at all?

Unfortunately, you can’t prepare for every event on the road. However, you can control your own driving behaviour and the factors present inside your own vehicle.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, speeding and driving while fatigued are two of the riskiest driving practices putting younger motorists in harm’s way. These factors influence a driver’s ability to respond to hazards in a timely manner and lessens the safety of their driving habits, creating a higher risk level overall.

Being in the best condition to drive is important, and may even save a life in the case of an emergency. Drivers need to be alert, responsive and focused at all times, so it’s important to make sure you apply this practice to yourself any time you are behind the wheel.

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