Teenage driving risk of death underestimated by 8 in 10

Globally, road crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers.

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.

The campaign launched last month, with the publication of ground-breaking new research into rural, young driver crashes and an interactive map.   

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.”

2 thoughts on “Teenage driving risk of death underestimated by 8 in 10”

  1. All new drivers 16-25 should be made to drive with a black box mandatory and if ONE breech is found up to the age of 25 years of age then the licence should revoked as too many teenagers are racing round believing it’s acceptable, I’m an instructor and 51 years of age this month and my car instructor is ridiculous and I’m told it’s because of teenage drives behaviour.

    I’ve had to earn my no claims an I’ve driven 34 years without incident or issue.

    They are not thinking of the other lives they destroy, only months ago 5 died in a crash near me at 90mph in a 30 zone, utter waste and complete sorrow for the families

    We have to be tougher for their futures.

    When then need to tackle general drivers as the standard in the UK is shocking with no enforcement being shown or used and I drive this country too to bottom regularly.

  2. Alan Shirley

    The GDE matrix holds the answer to this. Even though most ADI’s cover the issues verbally and in my case I try to take all pupils on the highest risk roads, attitude is often embedded well before driving age.

    “Pass Plus” was an attempt to improve on this but there’s now no incentive so it’s a dead duck.

    Black box insurance could be a way forward but it will need to be mandatory.

    Sadly, attitude cannot be reliably tested and no amount of traditional practical testing of the sort carried out by the DVSA can address it either.

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