Thursday, April 26, 2012

Young Male Drivers Overconfident

The youngest male drivers are far more likely to think themselves more skillful on average than women, it has been claimed. Nearly two-thirds of this demographic believe themselves to be better than the majority, overconfidence that could lead to more crashes and a subsequent rise in car insurance premiums for these drivers.

The facts:

Young male drivers aged between 17 and 29 are actually the highest risk group on Britain’s roads and are twice as likely to be killed in a car accident than their female counterparts. Despite this, the figures -which were published by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) -show that only 32 per cent of young female drivers believe themselves to be more skilful than average.

According to IAM’s figures, 30 per cent of all occupant fatalities occur when the driver is within this age group despite the fact that only eight per cent of drivers actually fall within it.

 Why is this age group most heavily affected?

Simon Best, chief executive at the IAM, has highlighted a range of factors that are behind the figures. Talking to the organisation’s annual lunch, he emphasised the importance of understanding these to being able to craft solutions that bring down the number of incidents affecting this age group.

He warned that young male drivers “suffer from a lethal combination “ of inexperience and overconfidence that their female peers lack.  “They don’t need curfews and other restrictions on their driving -they need to practice and gain driving experience safely, “ Mr Best explained.

The chief executive warned that the high number of accidents are leading to a rise in the drivers’ car insurance premiums, as well as to a high cost in human lives.

What can be done?

The IAM has made a number of proposals that it believes will help to boost safety within these demographics. It has highlighted the importance of getting young drivers to spend more time on the road during the early stages of learning. It warned that there is a window of opportunity immediately after drivers have passed their test where they are willing to take on additional lessons but that where this is put off the likelihood of these courses being taken falls drastically.

Another factor that affected people’s willingness to take on additional training was the number of attempts that people had to take on their driving tests to pass. The more failed efforts a driver had made to pass the less likely they were to seek extra courses to boost their skills.

What are the consequences of dangerous driving?

 While the majority of motorists of all ages realise that dangerous driving is against the law, few realise how broad this category of behaviour actually is. Anything from speeding, to going through traffic lights or using a vehicle that is in an unsafe condition can qualify, putting the driver at risk of serious legal repercussions.

Those who are successfully convicted for the traffic offence can be punished by anything from a £500 fine to up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine, a points penalty of between three and 11 points or even disqualification. A driver who has been found guilty of dangerous driving may also face a higher car insurance premium.

Each of these penalties is aside from the risk to life and limb that this behaviour at the wheel can cause. Recent figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that 23 people in Britain are killed or seriously injured each week due to unsafe vehicles, despite 42 per cent of drivers admitting that they have taken to the roads in the last 12 months with at least one dangerous defect in their car.

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