New research shows that young drivers are being killed in car accidents because of peer pressure. Young adults aged between 17 and 21 are driving differently to what they would normally when they have friends with them in the car. The research was provided by a car insurance provider that also found young drivers car deaths were due to poor training and not strapping up their seat belts when behind the wheel.
The car insurance provider studied young drivers’ behaviour and their attitudes to driving in an attempt to understand why young motorists are more at risk of accident or injury. Not only do young drivers alter the way they drive when they have friends with them, they also admit to losing their concentration easily when they have more than one mate in the car. The research showed that one in five paid less attention to the road. What is even more shocking, one in four teenagers also admitted to taking their hands of the wheel when driving.
According to Department for Transport statistics, young-driver accidents and deaths are declining more slowly than in other groups of motorists. And it is no wonder if the results of this new study are anything to go by. 15% admitted they perform illegal driving manoeuvres and 97% know to drive more carefully when in the car with a parent or grandparent.
Face-to-face interviews with young drivers where carried out to find out their experiences of driving with their friends. And here is another statistic you wouldn’t want your child to admit – 9% of those surveyed said they would not have awarded themselves a licence when they successfully passed their driving test.
One in four young drivers had no extra training beyond paid lessons, and one in five only practised with their instructor on the driving test route.
Adam Gilbert, 19, from Aylesford, said: ‘I think my mates drive differently with friends in their car. They are a bit more ambitious and less sensible. They might show off a little bit – show how fast their car can go.’
Alex Rodwell, 17, from Barnet, said: ‘I don’t see the difference between putting the seat belt over your shoulder or under your shoulder. I know if it’s under it can mess up your arm and stuff – and that over the shoulder is better for the impact – but the belt cuts into your neck and it’s uncomfortable.
‘It depends on the impact because if it’s side on, it does nothing.’
Nigel Bartram has called on young drivers and their passengers to wise up when behind the wheel. He urged younger drivers to take more personal responsibility, wear seat belts so t hey can be more safe on the roads and reduce the chances of being involved in an accident and suffering injury.
Nigel Bartram said, ‘Young drivers and passengers alike need to take responsibility for their own actions – this means wearing a seatbelt at all times, driving with fewer passengers and not giving in to peer pressure while behind the wheel.’