Young Drivers Aged 17 – 25 Years Why Are They ‘At Risk’?

Facts:

  1. Road crashes are one of the leading causes of injury, disability and death among young people.
  2. Young drivers are over-represented in road crashes compared to other age groups    especially young males.
  3. Drivers in rural areas experience a higher rate of fatalities than those from urban areas.
  4. Speeding is the major cause of road crashes in NSW and crashes which involve speeding are more likely to result in fatal crashes.
  5. Other high-risk behaviours that significantly contribute to road crashes and injuries include:
  • Drink driving
  • Driver fatigue and distraction
  • Not using seat belts

Driver inexperience: Often young drivers don’t realise that it takes time and lots of practice to develop safe driving skills.

Developing brain: Parts of the brain responsible for self-control and for recognising and managing hazards do not fully mature until after the teenage years, so young drivers are more likely to experiment and take dangerous risks.

Overconfidence and risk taking: Young drivers can be over confident about their driving ability and underestimate dangers on the road.

Having friends as passengers: Young drivers may be distracted by passengers or may feel pressured to take risks, such as speeding.  Every extra peer passenger carried by a young driver increases the chance of crashing.

Alcohol and other drugs: Young people often do not understand that alcohol and other drugs affect a driver’s skills, mood and most importantly behaviour. Safe driving requires clear judgement, concentration and ability to react to what’s happening on the road.

Busy lifestyles: Work, sport and study often mean busy lifestyles for young people, which may cause them to drive when tired – especially late at night. Driving tired significantly impairs driving, even if the driver doesn’t feel sleepy.

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    RRISK is a health promotion program that addresses risk-taking behaviour amongst year 11 students in the North Coast of NSW.