Young drivers are inexperienced and overconfident

Inexperience (86%) and overconfidence (86%) are the main reasons that new drivers are the riskiest group of road users, according to the latest poll from road safety charity IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). Respondents also rated peer pressure (67%), immaturity (52%) and shortfalls in the learning process (45%) as being important risk factors.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents lack faith in the current driving test as being an adequate system to produce safe drivers. There is a high degree of dissatisfaction with the current system for learning to drive. When asked to rate how well new drivers are taught using a scale of one to ten (one being poor, ten being ideal), half (57%) of respondents rated it as a five or below.

When asked about the idea of a minimum learning period, respondents’ opinion is split. Thirty-one per cent believe it should be six months with thirty per cent believing it should be at least a year.

Poll results showed support for restrictions such as stricter drink-drive limits for younger drivers. Forty-nine per cent of respondents believe that the drink-drive limit should be lower for younger drivers.

When it comes to the number of passengers younger drivers can carry, 71% support restrictions in the first few months after passing the practical test.

Attitudes were more divided on night time curfews, with 47% supporting a night-time curfew while 45% do not want to see any curfew enforced for young people.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Our survey has shown that sixty-nine per cent of motorists lack faith in the current system which marks a clear need to review the learning process. It is clear that motorists want to see more restrictions on younger drivers, but this will not solve the issue alone. There needs to be a lifelong learning approach to driving that starts at school and continues through experience and coaching into the higher risk early days of solo driving. The more experience of driving that young people get the safer they will be in the long run.”

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