Young drivers: the road to safety

Front Cover
The great over-representation of young drivers in crashes and road fatalities is a serious public health problem that exacts an unacceptable toll in human, social and economic terms. Young drivers account for about 27 per cent of driver fatalities across OECD countries, although people in the same age group represent only about 10 per cent of the population. Furthermore, between 20 and 30 per cent of total traffic fatalities result from crashes involving a young driver. Young male drivers' crash fatality rates are as much as three times those of young female drivers, and remain much higher even when adjusted to factor in their higher rates of exposure. In some countries, young males' relative risk, compared to that of other drivers, is increasing. The high levels of young driver risk result principally from factors of inexperience, age, and gender. This risk is aggravated by the circumstances under which many young people drive - young people, especially men, are over-represented in crashes at high speed, at night, with similarly aged passengers, involving alcohol, and often when not wearing seatbelts. There is no single solution. The goal of reduced young driver crashes must be pursued through a combination of countermeasures involving the licensing process, training and learning methods, enforcement, education and communication, and technology.

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