Eight in ten drivers underestimate the risk driving poses to teenagers, with just one in six saying they believe it is the greatest threat to their safety, according to new research.
The AA Charitable Trust found that while the perceived risk of driving has not changed significantly (11% in 2008; 15% in 2013; 17% in 2018; 14% in 2021), the perception of drugs being the greatest threat to teenagers’ safety has risen from 31% to 39% since 2008.
Globally, road crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. The latest UK statistics show 2,223 17-to-19-year-olds were killed or seriously injured in road crashes. Research from the AA Charitable Trust Young Rural Drivers campaign shows rural roads in particular pose a particular danger.
Key aims of the campaign include raising awareness that 71% of fatal crashes involving young drivers occur on rural roads.
Overall, the research shows young drivers (aged 17-to-24) are over-represented in rural crashes by 9%, relative to all roads, with the over-representation highest for those aged 17 (27%) and decreasing with every subsequent year.
Young drivers were also shown to face a higher risk of death (2%) or serious injury (15.2%) when involved in a crash on a rural road compared to an urban road (0.6%; 11.3%).
Edmund King OBE, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “Road crashes are the single biggest killer of teenagers across the world, yet the general perception is that the inside of a car is a relatively safe place for them to be.
“Understanding how, when and where young people are involved in crashes is vitally important to being able to improve their safety.
“Our latest research takes an in-depth look at rural roads and the particular and significant risks they pose to young drivers.”