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Young drivers fail to see dangers under their nose

in Compensation Law by Genevieve Henderson on

We all know that young Australian drivers are over-represented in statistics relating to serious road crashes. While they are only 14 per cent of all licence holders, they are involved in around 25 per cent of serious incidents.

I can’t help but wonder whether young people are continuing to grapple with some emerging road safety issues and whether our relevant road safety campaign messages, or even the risks of penalties, are sinking in.

Slater and Gordon recently surveyed 2,000 Australians and we asked them what they believed were the biggest road safety concerns for young drivers, specifically those who were on probation.

One of the interesting findings from the research tells us that young Australians are more likely to think the biggest road safety concerns for probationary drivers are outside of their car and not in it.

What I mean by this is they were more likely than other age groups to name dangers that were external factors like other motorists driving dangerously and hooning; or being a victim of road rage by another driver.

On the other hand, young people were less likely to blame their own actions behind the wheel such as talking on a phone, drinking or drugging while driving, their own speeding, and distracting passengers.

What our findings suggest is that young people may be lacking self-awareness about their own actions, with many of them believing that driving dangers are external to them and that other motorists are to blame.

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

Young drivers benefit from support and education, particularly from an early age, to minimise their risky actions, so as a community we must focus on continuing to raise awareness and instilling safe attitudes and behaviours.

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