Peer pressure putting unprepared young drivers at greater risk on roads in East of England

PEER pressure, not wearing seatbelts and poor training are all major factors in the numbers of young drivers killed on the roads in East England. A third of 17 to 21-year-olds admitted to driving differently when they have more than one friend in the car

PEER pressure, not wearing seatbelts and poor training are all major factors in the numbers of young drivers killed on the roads in East England.

A third of 17 to 21-year-olds admitted to driving differently when they have more than one friend in the car, according to extensive new research by insurer Aviva.

The research took an in-depth look at young motorists' behaviour and their attitudes to driving in a bid to better understand why they drive the way they do.

And the findings help to explain why young driver deaths and accidents are declining more slowly than all other driver groups' year on year, according to The Department for Transport 2008 statistics.


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The results reveal that young drivers are dangerously influenced by peer pressure when driving with friends in the car:

A third (32 per cent) take their hands off the wheel

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One in five (21 per cent) swerve their cars to the music on the stereo

A third shout at other drivers and vehicles on the road

According to the young drivers questioned, two in five (42 per cent) only had paid driving lessons with no practice time, and the results indicate that some driving schools may be priming students to merely pass their test, with 26 per cent of young drivers having only practiced on the driving test route with their instructor.

Aviva motoring expert, Nigel Bartram, said: "Young drivers remain the age group with the highest proportion of insurance claims, accidents and fatalities on our roads.

"Aviva has carried out extensive research to better understand young motorists' attitudes towards driving so we can offer advice in an effort to try to reduce the number of insurance claims and more importantly, the number of fatalities and serious injury.

"A common misconception is that insurance is bought solely to cover the repair costs of the vehicle insured. The reality is that the premium covers the vehicle insured, as well as any potential injury or damage that the vehicle could cause.

"The largest proportion of Aviva claims costs for young drivers are for injuries rather than vehicle damage with 58 per cent of the cost of all young driver claims consisting of personal injury costs, mainly to friends of the young driver being carried as passengers.

"According to Aviva claims data, injuries increase exponentially in relation to the number of passengers being carried.

"In order to reduce these statistics young drivers and passengers alike need to take personal responsibility for their own actions - this means wearing a seatbelt at all times regardless of who is in the car, driving with fewer passengers and not conforming to peer pressure whilst behind the wheel.

"If young drivers take this advice on board and drive more responsibly we have every reason to expect the number of claims will reduce and claims costs will fall.

"If we see reduction in our claims costs for young drivers we expect that our premiums for younger drivers should fall in line with this.

"We want to do what we can to try and help young motorists, but in order to reduce premium we need to work together.

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