Over the next couple of weeks we will see school leavers participating in schoolies week and university students enjoying well-deserved holidays, meaning there will be many young and inexperienced drivers on our roads.
As a parent, this is likely to be a particularly anxious time as your child and their friends obtain their probationary drivers licence and start hitting the road.
Australian road statistics
Sadly Australian road statistics tell us that these young drivers are considerably over-represented in crash data, with young males being particularly at risk.
In fact, the Transport Accident Commission in Victoria estimates that young drivers in their first year of driving are almost four times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious injury crash than more experienced drivers.
Research commissioned by Slater and Gordon in 2017 showed that those aged 16-24 thought drink driving was the factor most likely to cause road accidents, which is in line with respondents from other age groups, however they rated significantly lower than other respondents in recognising the impact of age and inexperience as risk factors on the road.
Why are young drivers more at risk?
Whilst there are many factors that are likely to cause road accidents, a recent review by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that young drivers were at greater risk on the road for a number of reasons including:
- lack of experience;
- limited ability and judgement;
- underestimation of risks;
- deliberate risk-taking behaviours; and
- use of alcohol and drugs.
It is crucial that at this busy time of year we all drive with extra caution, but parents and other family members can also help to make sure their teenager is fully aware of the dangers on our roads and equipped with the right skills.
There’s no doubt that Aussie families take road safety very seriously, and are having conversations with new drivers about the precautions they need to take, particularly when there are more people on the roads around the holiday season.
Sadly, too many families are devastated by car accidents, so if there are families with new drivers, don’t be afraid to have the serious road safety conversation before they get behind the wheel.
For some thought starters on this difficult conversation, read our other article Road Safety Tips for Young Drivers.
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