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What the figures say

Compared to the population at large, young adults (aged 16-24) are over-represented among casualties, although this trend is declining slowly over time. Devon and Cornwall’s resident young driver involvement rate of 435.3 per 100,000 population is 4% higher than the overall GB rate (418.7), and 7% higher than the South West region rate of 409.4 (Agilysis report 2018). Exeter has the lowest rate (146.7), compared to Eastern Cornwall with the highest rate of 610.9.

According to RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), nationally young drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision that results in a fatality or serious injury at night, and this is particularly true for young male drivers.

Although males aged 17-20 are seven times more likely to be involved in a collision than all male drivers, between 2am and 5am, their risk is 17 times higher. Passengers can have a significant impact on the safety of a vehicle driven by a young driver. Passengers can divert the driver’s attention, and encourage certain behaviours, such as speeding and risky overtaking, especially on rural roads. Driving a car full of passengers of similar age increases the risk of a fatal accident for newly-qualified drivers by four times, compared to driving alone.

Young drivers who live in rural areas of the UK are also 37 per cent more likely to be involved in an injury collision than their urban counterparts, according to RoSPA. Due to inexperience and poorer hazard perception skills, young drivers are more likely to be involved in high-speed crashes, crashes caused by losing control of the vehicle, crashes in the dark and crashes when overtaking and negotiating bends. Fatal rural collisions often occur on a bend and result in greater vehicle damage, and head-on crashes are also more prevalent in rural areas.

useful FAQs

Although several factors are used to determine the cost of car insurance, for example where you live or the type of car you have, newly qualified drivers are at greater risk of making a claim than those who have been driving for longer and have more experience.
Unfortunately, when it goes very wrong young driver claims can be very expensive, essentially the insurance company will review the risk and if high then will increase the premium.

Some insurance companies offer a telematics insurance Policy, sometimes this is known as ‘black box’ insurance. The device is fitted to the vehicle or through a mobile phone app and allows the insurance company to monitor driver behaviour.

If you drive well, then some insurance companies offer a reward and you may find that at the time of renewal of the insurance that the price may decrease. It can also give a good excuse for telling your passengers to stop asking you to drive faster and will make it far more likely that your vehicle gets recovered if it is ever stolen.

If you do have a serious collision many black boxes will automatically trigger the insurance company to call out the emergency services.

Unfortunately, young drivers are at much higher risk of being involved in a collision than older, more experienced drivers.  One in five drivers are involved in a collision within a year of passing their test (Source: BRAKE).  

Young males aged 17-24 are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with car drivers aged 25 or over – and young male drivers are more likely to crash with passengers in the car. The presence of friends in their car can encourage young drivers to drive in a more risky way. The collision risk for young drivers increases with each additional passenger carried: compared with driving alone. The more mates the more risk.

The combination of youth and inexperience puts younger drivers at a greater risk of being involved in a collision.  Lack of on road experience often results in younger drivers being less likely to spot hazards and some younger drivers are likely to take greater risks for example speeding and overtaking. Whilst younger people generally have faster reactions their hazard perception skills may mean that their driver reaction may not be as quick as those of a more experienced driver.

Inexperience, excess or inappropriate speed, distractions from mobile phone use or multiple
young occupants, impairments through drink/drug and tiredness are all factors that increase the likelihood of a young driver being involved in a crash. Often it is the stacking of these risks that lead to crashes. Not wearing a seatbelt is also a factor that will lead to poor outcomes for anyone involved in a collision.

If you have just passed your driving test you must remember you are “on probation” for the first two years. If you clock up six or more penalty points during that time you will lose your licence and go back to being a learner. 

You will have to reapply for a provisional licence and take both the theory and practical driving test again. This is to reduce the number of people killed and injured on the roads. Newly qualified drivers, especially young ones, are more at risk in the first two years after passing their test than at any other time. 

Your licence will be taken away if you increase that risk by committing offences such as speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving. Remember mobile phone use when driving can have huge implications.

Everyone is different and it can depend on several factors, for example how confident you are, your driving instructor, your age, and your commitment to driving.  However, the take home message is do not rush the process and you will be safer when you get your licence.

On average it takes 45 hours of professional instruction and 22 hours of private practice to learn to drive DVSA. However, research has suggested that getting 100 hours of supervised on-road experience under different conditions over a period of 12 months significantly reduces your risk of being in a crash as a newly qualified driver. 

Younger people have a greater risk of being involved in a collision during the hours of darkness. This is possibly due to being distracted by other people within the vehicle and being pressurised into doing things they would not normally do. 

  • Take your time learning to drive and gain lots of on road experience under a range of different conditions 
  • Invest in telematics insurance
  • Make a Safe Plan for themselves, with their friends, and parents/carers
  • Reduce the number of peer passengers in the vehicle
  • Ensure all passengers wear seatbelts
  • Avoid being distracted by mobile phone and other devices
  • Never drive whilst under the influence of drink and drugs
  • Plan ahead – having contacts on your mobile phone or pre downloaded apps can be really useful when needed. What3Words is a really useful app and will help get emergency services to the correct location quickly What3Words

By understanding how many things a new driver must think about at once, and therefore…

  • Reducing in car distractions
  • Be a good co-pilot 
  • Do not pressure a new driver to give you a lift 
  • Use positive peer pressure to ensure all other passengers contribute to safe journey 
  • Buy the designated driver soft drinks to encourage them to not drink and drive 
  • Suggest alternative modes of travel if a driver is tired
  • Encourage the driver not to drive late at night on country roads until they have a lot of experience

No, you don’t but additional training can help improve your skills, confidence and make you a safer driver.  These are some links to courses that are available as you begin your driving career:

A Safe Plan is literally what is says – it is a plan for how to be safe. Essentially this is all the things you can do as a new driver, passenger of a new driver, or parent to reduce your risk. This could be as simple as making a promise to not drive if you feel tired.

Before your child starts to learn to drive, have a conversation with them to agree upon what restrictions will apply once they pass their test. Many parents contribute towards the cost of getting their child on the road for the first time – driving lessons, purchasing a car and insurance to name a few. If you are going to contribute towards the cost you have a right to ask for something in return! 

Please see more info here:

It is important to familiarise yourself with the basics of what to do if you are involved in a road traffic collision.  Read more here: Post Crash Info (

These are some other sites that have great advice, guidance and support for young drivers:

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