Young Drivers

Young Drivers

Key Facts:

  • In 2016, 13% of all car occupants killed or seriously injured were young car drivers aged 17-25 years. For this age group, there were 110 fatalities in 2016, a 17 per cent fall from the 2011-15 average (RRCGB, DfT, 2017). These reductions may reflect the proportion of young drivers with a licence which has decreased since the early 1990s.

  • A survival analysis of the length of time to new drivers’ first accident found three factors were associated with longer ‘survival’ rates: increased age, driving experience (possibly driving in busy town centres and in the rain) and a self-reported driving style characterised as ‘attentive, careful, responsible and safe’.

  • While driver age is a risk factor for collisions (with the youngest new drivers at most risk), the experience drivers gain in the first six months after passing their test plays a more significant role in reducing their collision rates.

  • Nevertheless, the experience does not seem to be a key quality of a good driver in the view of young road users. Evidence from a range of studies suggests that young drivers may overrate their driving ability and see driving as a matter of ‘natural talent’ which can be judged by how confident a driver feels. When asked to judge themselves, the vast majority of young drivers choose the term “safe driver”. These remarks have important implications for understanding young drivers’ attitudes in relation to road safety.

  • There is little research evidence that increased formal driver training, before, during and after learning to drive, improves safety. A number of themes have emerged that offer the hope of improving the effectiveness of training, in making training address the cognitive and attitudinal aspects of driving.

  • Across the first years of licensure, drivers’ aberrant behaviours seem to be undertaken more frequently. Being male and of a younger age prove to be predictors for higher levels of aberrant actions.

  • Attempts and efforts to dissuade them from aberrant actions may result in significant difficulties in the case of adolescents, since this developmental stage is characterised by emotional distortions and reactions.  

  • There is a need for greater clarity about what needs to be learned in order to drive safely and to encourage learners to take responsibility for their learning, through effective progress reporting and self-evaluation.

  • Evidence based on accident statistics in Great Britain suggests that the introduction of multiple components of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) will result in saving at least 4,478 casualties, which is a conservative estimation. Limitations of passenger numbers (in general) and on driving between midnight and 5 a.m., are ideas that enjoy the support of over 60% of British people.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:08 AM
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018, 12:22 PM