Young Drivers

Young drivers account for an unacceptably high proportion of motorists on the county’s roads that are killed or seriously injured in road collisions. Among young drivers driving is a social pastime with friends and the opportunities for multiple fatalities and injuries are dramatically increased. It is not uncommon for three or four young people to have their lives cut short in just seconds of bad driving.

Collisions are the biggest single killer of young people in the UK and worldwide. Young drivers are involved in one in four fatal and serious crashes, despite only making up one in eight driver licence holders.

Government statistics show that:

  • An 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year old
  • One in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test
  • Young male drivers have much higher crash rates than young female drivers
  • Young male drivers aged 17-20 are seven times more at risk than all male drivers - but between the hours of 2am and 5am their risk is 17 times higher

Drivers under 25 have the highest incidence of failing a breath test after a crash and in roadside checks. In a 2012 month-long enforcement campaign, 5.27% of under-25s stopped by police failed or refused a breath test compared to 3.39% of drivers aged 25+.

Young drivers also have a higher ratio of not using seatbelts and succumbing to peer pressure from passengers. US research has shown that the already high crash rate for 16-19-year-olds driving alone is greatly increased when passengers are present. The more passengers, the more risk and the risk is higher when the drivers are aged 16 and 17 rather than 18 and 19. With two or more passengers, the fatal crash risk for 16-19 year-old drivers is more than five times what it is when driving alone.

In Cumbria we encourage young drivers to improve their driving skills from the minute they pass their driving test by participating in PassPlus Plus. The scheme provides post-test training in the form of six practical modules on a range of subjects which are not currently included when learning to drive e.g. motorway driving. There is no further test at the end of the training as driving is continually assessed. The cost of the Pass Plus scheme in Cumbria currently averages around £150. However, Cumbria County Council will provide a £100 voucher towards the cost of the course providing age and residency criteria are met.

Full details can be found here.